The 5 Love Languages of Children
By Dr. Gary Chapman
Grade Levels: Parents
This book is something of a departure from our usual fare here. Many of you have likely read or at least heard of the seminal book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Published in 1992, it explored the ways in which we can express love for our partners. Every person will have preferences for the kind of love language they best respond to, and this book made the point that it’s important that we identify these preferences and express our love in ways that the receiver understands and appreciates. In the original book, these “love languages” are:
words of affirmation
acts of service
As a guide to expressing love for a romantic partner, we highly recommend this book. However, as parents, we’re also concerned with how to show love and support for our children and in determining the methods that will resonate most with them. That’s why Dr. Chapman released a follow-up book in 1997 dealing exclusively with the parent-child relationship. The book explains how children express and receive love through these languages. A great deal of time is also given to explaining how to identify your child's primary love language or languages. The book then provides examples of how to “speak” each of these love languages to children, with each example relevant to children at a different point in emotional development.
Of course, none of us have a single love language we speak - but some can be more important than others. You may be showing your affection to your child through acts of service - providing help, opportunities, and support for them. But it may be that your child’s primary love language is words of affirmation or physical touch. It’s important to be able to recognize the disparity between the kind of love you are giving your child and the kind of love they need so that you can meet their needs. Only a child who feels loved will be emotionally safe and satisfied enough to grow up confident, capable of taking risks, and loving others. Loving is one of the most important things that we can do, and it’s absolutely worth doing well!