Did you know that different things make different people feel loved. In their book “the Five love languages of Children” (5LLOC ) by Ross Campbell and Gary Chapman identify affirming words, affectionate touch, 1-2-1 time, thoughtful presents and kind actions.
We had a great time discussing all of these in a recent parenting course based on the Holy Trinity Brompton material. Here are some quotes and notes from the evening:
Every child has an emotional tank, a place of emotional strength that can fuel him through the challenging days of childhood and adolescence. Just as cars are powered by reserves in the gas tank, our children are fuelled from their emotional tanks. We must fill our children’s emotional tanks for them to operate as they should and reach their potential…By speaking your child’s own love language, you can fill his ‘emotional tank’ with love 5LLOC
Each human being is special. They are wonderfully made in the image of God for a relationship with him. Children need to know that they are special and that they are loved. They will hear so many negative things as they grow up so it’s so vital a solid foundation and framework of truth is put in place.
Virginia Satir, a family therapist who spent a life time looking at family dynamics found that we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs for maintenance and 12 hugs for growth. Of course some children might prefer a good wrestling match than a hug but the principle is the same.
One 2 one time
If we don’t give children our attention they can try to get it through behaving badly. Extraordinary though it may seem, some would rather be told off than ignored.
“One to one time is giving a child our full, undivided attention in such a way that he feels without doubt that he’s completely loved. It makes a child feel he is the most important person in the world in his parents’ eyes” 5LLOC
“When we listen with our eyes we are saying you are special to me.” Rob Parsons.
Giving presents is not necessarily giving into a materialistic culture. While they do not make up for a lack in any of the other love languages, and should never be used to manipulate or buy affection, presents are a powerful way of expressing love. After all God so loved the world that he gave his only son. And we also get the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says “Freely you have received, so freely give”. Giving is good.
Parents do lots for their children but knowing how important this love language is can energise even the most mundane chores and make sure we do them with the right attitude. Loving our children in this was also helps them be both thankful for the things done for them, and responsible in serving others. After all being thankful is an expression of true appreciation, and its ultimately better to give than receive.