Kids Need Their Mom…to Learn Their Unique Love Language
My four children, two girls and two boys, are alike in many ways. Chocolate chip cookies are a home run with the whole crew. They can usually agree on the kind of music they want to listen to. The beach is their favorite vacation destination. They like to eat outside and travel to new places, and I can always count on my kids for funny stories. Each one of them can tell a great funny story.
But oh my goodness, for all their similarities, they are each one so incredibly different. Each child is in process on their own life journey, still becoming who they are going to be. Our four fill the entire spectrum—neat and messy, loud and quiet, ambitious and hesitant, sporty and not-so-much. We have a little bit of everything in our house.
One part of our children’s differences has to do with their love languages. In his 30 years of experience, marriage counselor Gary Chapman observed that everyone he had ever counseled had a “love language.” He says that a love language is “a primary way of expressing and interpreting love.” His work has helped to heal marriages around the world, but it turns out that primary love languages begin to take shape at an early age in our children.
The whole idea is that we would learn the love language of each one of our children. Understanding what speaks love to them. Realizing what connects with their heart. The love languages that Dr. Chapman lists are these:
- Words of affirmation—For this child, words speak louder than actions.
- Quality time—Undivided attention is what this child craves.
- Receiving gifts—A well-chosen gift (not materialism) means something to this one.
- Acts of service—This child hears love when you do something to help them.
- Physical Touch—Hugs, holding hands, and snuggling say “I love you” to this one.
As moms, it is so valuable for us to take the time to learn our children. To know as much as we can about who they are, what they like, and what they want to become. But one of the most special things we can do is to learn, as early as possible, their primary love language. With all the great technology, it’s so much easier to for us to love well. You can Skype with the child who lives far away but still needs some of your undivided attention.
You can text your words of affirmation the very minute they pop into your head.
Just yesterday, I went by the high school and put a notebook in my older son’s car because his doors have keyless entry. It meant the world to my boy with the acts-of-service love language.
Physical touch is still physical touch, and thankfully, I don’t think any technology will ever replace a good old hug. But the child who needs physical touch may need a plane ticket home for a little hug refueling.
One of the best things my child can say to me is “Awww mom, you know me so well.” Truth is, I want to know them, and as they grow and change, I want to know the new, more grown-up version of them.
Kids with moms who speak their love language feel known. It’s got to be a pretty special feeling to be a kid in this hard world and then to go home to the mom who not only loves you but is actively trying to know you. When you rank the gifts we can give to our kids, I think this one would rank pretty high.
Angela Thomas is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and bestselling author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful?, My Single Mom Life, Prayers for My Baby Boy, and Prayers for My Baby Girl. She inspires thousands at national conferences, workshops, and through video studies that she filmed and wrote including Brave: Honest Questions Women Ask.