This is such a taken for granted topic. We love our children, there is no doubt about it. But sometimes we have that child that feels left out or not loved. This is a short article to summarize an old book but very simple and useful even by today's standards. Hopefully it will help those that struggle.
According to the book of the same title by author Gary Chapman, a well-known psychologist, finding the right language is the key to making someone know we love them. This comes very naturally when the other person expresses love just like us because it is easy to understand and communication is faster and simpler. All of us as parents are often very busy meeting the basic needs of our children such as providing food, clothes, schooling, doing homework, etc. and we have to work hard to achieve these. This takes time and energy and when the end of the day comes, as a parent you are tired of thinking more deeply about other things that are not so obvious and urgent to our eyes.
But we are responsible as parents to know our children well. Not only to really love them but to also help them see and feel that we love them. All parents try to treat all our children equally so as not to discriminate. Who has children here understands well that it is hard work to maintain a good balance.
But according to Gary Chapman, not all people express love equally. He is a psychologist and has worked with hundreds of couples who had problems with their marriage. In some cases, counseling did not work and he realized that couples, even though they really loved each other, did not feel love, so they had a problem with communicating love. He noticed the ways or languages how couples expressed and understood love. We can distinguish 5 languages where more or less all the expressions of love are included: Physical touch, words of encouragement, quality time, gifts, works of service. These are true for any kind of relationship, not only in couples but also with the children.
Physical touch: It is the first language of love when we are just born. A baby does not understand any other way of love yet, except the affection. The baby feels close, loved, safe. Hugs, kisses, holding hands, lying in bed together, etc. are signs We have all gone through this phase. However for some people this language continues to be the main language of how they understand that someone loves them. For most people, this is the easiest way of expressing love to a child.
Words of affirmation The child enjoys and feels loved when parents say words that encourage him, when they praise him and express how much they love him with words. Your child requires your approval in many things he does, by looking at you when he does something. Reprimand or harsh tone makes them cry. So here, (very important how we choose to do it) we will make the difference when we correct the child who has this love language, because we have to be more careful. We think we motivate and encourage them when we reprimand and criticize them negatively. As a culture we have a lot to learn. Choose your words carefully so you can build your child.
Quality time The child enjoys when the parent pays exclusive attention to him. You look him in the eye and you really hear what he says. It requires you to spend time alone with him doing something together. You can tell that your child has this love language, because he comes close when you are just doing different chores and wants to be part of it.
Gifts We all love gifts. But for some people this is an expression of love because for them it is something tangible and material with which they associate love. It means that someone thinks about them. It does not mean that it has to be expensive. As they say, it is the thought that counts. The child who has this language often brings you gifts, cuts flowers or collects shells, etc.… You have found his language :)
Acts of service This is a language that parents use every day without much thought. All our family life revolves around the service and chores we do at home. It seems like no one notices what we do and everyone takes it for granted. It is a language that appears a little later when children are able to do homework. The child who has this language appreciates when someone does something for him. They come close, help, or serve to show you they care, because this is what expresses love to them.
While adults can communicate with their partner and express what they want, with children, we as parents, need to be good observers to discern what makes them feel loved. While all languages are important for having emotionally healthy children and a good balance should be established, one or two of these languages are primary. Wise parents make sure they observe their children individually and give them love the way their children perceive it.