When our kids our born, we feel a strong connection to them almost instantly. But, this connection can suffer a bit as our children get older and struggle to understand their role in the family, their gifts and talents, and their overall purpose. Sometimes, our kiddos can be tough nuts to crack–and this can drive us nuts in the process. So, what’s a parent to do?
There are a ton of amazing resources on parenting in bookstores and online. So much so, that it can be overwhelming. But, there is one resource in particular that has really helped me when it comes to understanding and connecting with my children better. It’s a book called, “The Five Love Languages for Children,” by Gary Chapman.
You’ve may have heard of the original “The Five Love Languages” book for couples. It really helped my husband and me to better understand AND love one another. So, I was thrilled to find out that there a similar book for parents and kids.
Recently, my five year-old’s teacher reached out to me and asked about Chandler’s primary “love language.” She said she was having trouble “connecting” with him, and she wanted to gain a better understanding of how he gives and receives love. This really struck me, and I kind of felt like a terrible parent at that moment.
When I really thought about it, I didn’t have an answer for her at that point. To be honest, I had been struggling to connect with Chandler too. He had been acting out more, and I felt like I had to correct him and sit him on the stairs for a timeout multiple times a day, every day. It had never even crossed my mind that my approach to him was off, but I wanted to do whatever I could to have a better understanding of what makes Chandler tick. So, I ordered the book, and it was eye-opening.
One of the most important things I learned is that our connection to our child directly correlates to how our child receives our love.
I was sure that Chandler would fit right into the “physical touch” love language category because he loves to give and receive hugs, high-fives, back rubs, etc.. But, when I asked him the questions on the assessment/profile below, I was shocked at the results.
Though they only offer a love language profile for ages 9 and up, I believe reading the questions aloud to younger kids and having them answer will offer some perspective.
Chandler’s primary love language is “acts of service.” Therefore, he feels most loved when I offer to help him in various ways. Now that I am aware of this, I am going to try to adjust the way that I parent him. Like most moms, I offer to help Chandler all the time, but I am going to be more intentional about it from now on. I am excited to see how this improves our relationship and understanding between one another, and I think his behavior at home and school will improve as well.
It’s important to note that each one of my kids has a different primary love language, and a child’s primary love language can change as they get older. So, it might be useful to give kid’s the profile/assessment ever couple of years to keep a pulse on how to best understand them and show love to them.
Parenting is super hard, and every phase of childhood brings new challenges. It’s important that we monitor and adjust whenever we can. Finding out our child’s love language is one effective way to better connect with your child and love him/her in the best way possible.