Category: Children

True Greatness

Adults and youth alike are attracted to the young man who goes out of his way to serve others. True greatness is found in serving. No parents challenge their children to be like Hitler, while thousands challenge their children to be like Jesus. The hallmark of Jesus was service to others. Peter said of Him, “He went about doing good.” Would you like for that to be said of your children?

It all begins at home. If your children hear you ask, “What can I do to help you today?” They will learn to ask the same question. As they see you experience the satisfaction of serving, they will follow your model. Service will become a way of life and your children will bless the world.


Learning to Serve

The most essential ingredient in a healthy family is learning to serve each other. Jesus said about Himself, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” In a healthy family, that will be the attitude of the husband, the wife and the children. Young children want to serve. What mother has not heard these words, “Mommy, can I help you?” If the child is allowed to help and affirmed for helping he/she will develop an attitude of service.

This attitude is fostered by the model of the parents. If the child hears the father ask his wife, “How may I help you?” and hears the mother reciprocate, the child will learn that “serving others is important in our family.”  Teach your children to serve and they are on the road to greatness.


Showing All Five

Do you know the five love languages of children? They are: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. One of those five is the primary love language of your child. If you don’t speak that language, your child will not feel loved. This does not mean that you speak only the primary love language. No, you give heavy doses of their primary love language, then you sprinkle in the other four.

The ideal is that children learn to receive and give love in all five languages. This prepares them for good relationships as adults. Your example is the most effective method of teaching. Love your children effectively and they will learn to love others.

Emotional Food

During infancy, a child does not distinguish between milk and tenderness, between solid food and love. Without food a child will starve. Without love, a child will starve emotionally and can become impaired for life. A great deal of research indicates that the emotional foundation of life is laid in the first eighteen months of life, particularly in the mother/child relationship.

The ‘food’ for future emotional health is love expressed in five ways:  physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Speak all five languages to your child the first eighteen months and you are laying the best possible foundation for emotional health.

No Matter What

“I love you, no matter what!” This is unconditional love, and it is what children crave. Don’t withhold your love from a child when they miss-behave. Does this sound like permissiveness? It is not. Rather, it is doing first things first. A child’s emotional love tank must be filled before any effective training or discipline can take place.

A child with a full love tank can respond to parental guidance without resentment. On the other hand, when the child does not feel loved, the discipline seems harsh and unfair. Discipline wrapped in love is the most effective discipline. So, if your child’s love language is ‘physical touch’ give him a big hug before you give the correction and after you give the correction.

Understanding Love

Every child has a special way of receiving love. When Dr. Ross Campbell and I wrote the book The Five Love Languages of Children, we discovered that children understand love in five basic ways: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service. If you have several children, chances are they each understand love in a different way.

Often parents think that the ideal is to treat each child in the same way. They think of this as equality. However, a hug means more to some children than to others. So, if each child gets a hug, some actually receive more than others. Discovering the primary love language of each child is the key to effectively communicating love.

Children Feeling Loved

Most parents love their children, but many children do not feel loved. When children don’t feel loved, they do poorly in school, they don’t respond well to discipline, and they are filled with anger. I believe that inside every child is an emotional love tank. When the tank is full—that is, the child feels loved by parents—the child grows up emotionally healthy. But when the love tank is empty, the child will grow up with many internal struggles.

Loving children effectively requires parents to express love in a language that the child understands. In my research I discovered five basic love languages: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service.

Children and Divorce

When parents divorce, typically children feel intensely rejected. Children get angry at their parents for violating the basic rule of parenthood – parents are supposed to make sacrifices for children, not the other way around. Because we are creatures of memory, we may carry the pain of broken relationships for a lifetime.

After the divorce, most parents plan to continue good relationships with their children, but parent-child relationships are forever altered by divorce. As adults, they often fear that their own marriage will fail. And in fact, the divorce rate for ‘children of divorce’ is higher than for those whose parents stay together. So, do your children a favor, continue to work on your marriage.

All Five

Some parents have asked me, “Do we only need to speak the child’s primary love language or do we need to speak all five?” My answer is that the children who fare best in life are the children who learn to give and receive love in all five love languages. First, make sure you are speaking the child’s primary love language regularly. Then, speak the other four.

What are the five love languages? Words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time and physical touch. Most of us did not grow up in homes where we learned all five languages of love. Our parents were sincere, but may not have spoken our love language at all. As adults, we have the opportunity to learn how to give and receive love in all five languages. This will greatly enhance our parenting.

Listen to Requests

What do your children request most often? Listen to their requests and you will discover their love language. If your child says, “Does my dress look nice?” Or, “Did I do a good job on my homework?” Their love language is ‘words of affirmation.’ If on the other hand, a child says, “Mommy can I help you set the table?” Or, “Can I help you make the bed?” Then, ‘acts of service’ is likely the child’s love language.

Listen to the requests of your child and you will discover what makes them feel loved. Discovering and speaking your child’s love language is the most effective way of keeping the child’s love tank full. A full love tank makes a child more responsive to instruction and correction.