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Is the Love You're Giving What Your Child Is Receiving?
on October 7, 2003
Chapman, with co-writer Ross Campbell, M.D., have written The Five Love Languages Of Children, which applies the love language theory to children. How can you tell your child's main love language? Chapman offers these suggestions:
1. Observe how your child expresses love to you.
Chapman and Campbell: Watch your child; he may well be speaking his own language. This is particularly true of a young child, who is very likely to express love to you in the language he desires most to receive.
I've seen this with my own 4 1/2 year old. Noah will come up to me or my husband, and try to engage us in a wrestling match. Or he'll pat our arms, give us a hug, etc. He has shown us that his main love language is that of Physical Touch!
2. Observe how your child expresses love to others.
If you notice your child making crafts for relatives, or wanting to take presents to classmates or teacher, this may indicate that her primary love language is Gifts.
3. Listen to what your child requests most often.
If your child often asks you questions like "How do I look, Mommy?", "What do you think of my drawing?", or "Did you think I did well at practice today?", this pattern may indicate that his love language is Words of Affirmation.
4. Notice what your child most frequently complains about.
Frequent complaints such as "You never have time for me", "Why don't you play games with me?", or "We never do things together" would be indicative of the need for Quality Time.
5. Give your child a choice between two options.
Chapman and Campbell suggests to lead your child to make choices between two love language. For example, a Dad might say to his son, "I have some free time Saturday. Would you like me to fix your bike, or would you rather go to the park together and shoot some hoops?". The choice is between Acts of Service and Quality Time. A mother may say, "I have some time tonight. Would you like to go shopping, and I'll help you pick out a new outfit, or would you rather stay home and we'll do a puzzle together?" You've given her the choice between Gifts and Quality Time.
Chapman and Campbell explain: As you give options for several weeks, keep a record of your child's choices. If most of them tend to cluster around one of the five love languages, you have likely discovered which one makes your child feel most loved. At times, your child will not want either option, and will suggest something else. You should keep a record of those requests also, since they may give you clues.
Of course, the choices you offer your child will depend on age and interest.
I highly recommend this book for understanding your child's own unique love languages, and how you can better fill his or her "love tank"!