5 Love Languages – Single Parenting

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is part of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)
For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

people-2585733__340According to the 2016 U.S. Census Report (https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-192.html) during the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent.

Single parents CAN effectively fill your children’s love tanks. But it is hard to do.

 

Essentially, you must remember that you can’t do it alone. (No matter how badly you want to prove that you can.)

Here are a few practical suggestions. Their feasibility depends on your particular situation:

• Don’t wait for people to volunteer to help. ASK for help. True, sometimes you’ll get turned down, but keep asking until you find a few trusted people to help you. People are often afraid to offer to help at risk of offending you.
• Start with grandparents, aunts, uncles, older cousins. Ask them to take your kids camping or fishing, to the mall or the movies, to toss a football around in the back yard. Make it clear that you’re not just trying to get the kids out of your hair, you’re giving your kids opportunities to experience love from different people who might speak a different Love Language.
• Briefly explain the 5 Love Languages and explain that your child needs extra physical touch, words of affirmation, one-on-one time, small gifts, or acts of service. Explain that you trust grandpa or Aunt Rachel to offer that.
• Step outside your family to trusted neighbors and people at church.
• Get your kids involved in one special activity. I know, your time is already stretched. This is an area where you can ask for help. Ask a parent of another kid on the team to provide transportation for your child. Volunteer to watch one of their little ones (too young for the activity) in exchange.

If your singleness is new (whether by divorce or death) remember that both you and your children are grieving a great loss.
• Grieve together.
• Give extra amounts of your child’s primary love language.
• And give them space and time to process their grief.
• You must process your grief, too. Probably in the late, late hours of night alone, I know. Here is where you can fall into the arms of Jesus and receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Take care of yourself.
• Eat well—this is sooooooo important.
• Get some exercise even if it means pushing a double stroller around the neighborhood. Hey, playing volleyball or kickball with your kids is exercise, too.
• Make some adult time in your life. You can stop laughing now!
Ask a coworker to share lunch with you in the break room. Talk about anything BUT your kids.
Invite another single parent over for the kids to have a play date. While they play the two of you can sip iced tea and chat, or watch an old romcom.
Call old friends just to catch up. Hearing their familiar voices and chatting about old times can fill your love tank.
Cultivate new friends wisely. Try not to talk about the downside of your life. Sometimes people will twist those facts around and hurt you all over again. Be selective. Ask God to send you a couple of trusted people.

Be careful! God did not create us to live alone, but in relationship. But be careful about dating too soon or dating without knowing the other person really well. Be sure to include the Lord in your dates. When you are single and lonely it’s really easy to slip into a physical relationship before you are ready.

I can say this to you from personal experience—the Lord CAN be your husband or wife. He CAN meet your emotional needs. He CAN share your disappointments and loneliness with you. Wait! Don’t make a romantic move until the Lord gives you the go-ahead. Please!

I know that your love tank needs to be kept full just like your kids. Let them—your children—be your filler-uppers. And let God Himself top off your tank. He delivers only the highest grade of love available.

Gender-Identity

For some parents the issue of gender-confusion or gender-identity is a great concern. Please read here for a sane, Christian article for parents  on the issue of gender-identity. Feel free to share this post with other parents who might need this information.

 

outofsync

Many thanks to Heidi at “Our Out-of-Sync Life” for this perspective.

 

Picture Book Review – The Manic Panic

Another 2018 Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall.

As soon as I touched The Manic Panic I suspected it would be different from other picture books I’ve been reading. The spine is clothbound—such a delightful texture to a booklover like me. The book doesn’t boast a jacket. The art is printed right on the cover boards. I like it.

It was written by Richa Jha and illustrated by Mithila Ananth. Creston Books published it in 2018.

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The Manic Panic is different in other ways, also.

It’s written and illustrated by creators who live in India. The family in The Manic Panic are definitely a contemporary Indian family. Quite a change from the picture books I usually see.

Another difference is that the story flip-flops the roles of parents and the child main character. It works well with the topic and theme.

The Manic Panic shows us what happens to the main character’s family when their Internet goes on the blink. Of course, in this book, the child is the voice of reason. Mommy and Daddy are the ones in a panic. And Nana, is amused by the whole incident.

I like this book. It’s amusing. The artwork is simple but effectively portrays the characters’ emotions and responses. I like Nana best of all, I think.

Also, the ending has an unexpected twist which I like. I’m not sure this is the best title for this story. But the story is really good.

Check it out, please! I think you school-aged children will find The Manic Panic quite amusing. And they will probably see themselves in the situation, I think.

The ISBN is 978-1-939547-43-9.

God’s Love Language

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is the final one of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)
For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

Who is the most perfect parent you can think of? Maybe your own, or maybe not so much.

All parents are imperfect. We are doing the most difficult job on the planet without step-by-step instructions. We fail. We make mistakes. We regret.

Be sure to admit that fact to your kids every time you realize you’ve messed up. Ask them for forgiveness. Ask them to hold you accountable. Ask them to pray for you. Kids can be amazingly forgiving when parents are sincere and transparent.

However, I was actually thinking about the one and only perfect parent—God.
He speaks all 5 Love Languages perfectly.
And He know exactly which Love Language is specific to each of us.

Physical Touch:
No, God doesn’t extend His hand from heaven and touch us on the shoulder. But He does send other human beings to do that for Him. Accept each hug, he hand-hold, each back-scratch, each tickle, each passionate act as God’s loving hand giving you the touches you need.

Word of Affirmation:
We have thousands of those straight from God’s lips to our hearts in the Bible. Spend time reading it everyday to hear your Heavenly Father saying He loves you.

Quality Time:
Every nanosecond of every day God is with us. Whether I can feel His presence people-2590997_1280or not, He is with me! How do I know that? The Bible tells me so. Read these verses to remind you of His presence when you are feeling alone.
Deuteronomy 31:6-8
Joshua 1:5
Hebrews 13:5
Psalm 9:10
Psalm 73:23
Matthew 28:20
I need to remind myself that the quality of the time He spends with me is dependent upon me.

Gifts:
Look around! Sometime when you’re feeling unloved grab a sheet of paper and a pen. Start listing the gifts God has given you. You know, like: life, health, children, house, vehicle, food, dirty dishes, job, family, friends, church, trash service, automatic washing machine and dryer, a bed for yourself and one for each kid, grocery stores, clean water, school teachers…
Do I need to continue?

Acts of Service:
Oh, my! It amazes me again and again that God delivers acts of service to each of us that speak our exact languages and meet our exact needs day after day.

But the most amazing act of service is His choice to come to earth, live, serve, die, and spend three days not only in the grave, but in hell. Then, to rise again to life eternal. He did this to pay the penalty for my sins against God.

All I have to do to receive this gift of salvation acquired by His act of service is to accept it. Accept Christ as my Savior and ask Him to live inside me and forgive my sins and carry me on to heaven when I die.

There is no greater love than this!

Picture Book Review – A Couch for Llama

Another Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring 2018 picture books.

Talk about cute!

Leah Gilbert’s first picture book, A Couch for Llama, is that and more. Her illustrations are colorful and inviting. And that llama is sooo cuddly.

It was published by Sterling Children’s Books in 2018. The ISBN is 978-1-4549-2511-8.

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Leah Gilbert

Gilbert’s text is sparse. Most of the story is told by the terrific illustrations. Illustrator/authors have that amazing opportunity, you know.

A Couch for Llama is a story of kindness and generosity. The Lago family buys a new couch. Which just happens to land in a field with a llama. Llama, of course, falls madly in love with the new couch. But the Lago family do, too.

What will they do?

I think pretty much any child from two to ten will enjoy A Couch for Llama. 

And they might accidentally learn something about the joy of sharing as they read.

Picture Book Review – Kate, Who Tamed the Wind

Another Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring 2018 picture books.

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind was written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Lee White.

It fooled me. Judging by the title I thought it would be a nonfiction biography. Not so.

Kate is an amazing little girl with brilliant ideas and the gumption to put them into action.

I like the soft, muted colors of the illustrations. I also like how the facial expressions tell much of the story. The man on the hill’s face shows his confusion and exasperation. Kate’s facial expressions show her determination and joy in finding a solution to the man’s problem.I also like the fact that Kate’s solution involves the wise use of a natural resource—trees. If you’re having or planning a discussion about wind, weather, natural resources, trees this is a great picture book to add to your list.

Or, if you want to emphasize that thoughtfulness and determination lead to successfully solving problems share Kate, Who Tamed the Wind with your students or children. I think it can open up some terrific discussions and maybe some solutions to problems.

Kate, Who Tamed the Wind was published by Swartz & Wade Books in 2018. The ISBN is 978-1-101-93479-1. 000000000010000

5 Love Languages – Acts of Service

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is part of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)

For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

Parenting—a Service-Oriented Occupation!

From the time you find out you are pregnant into Eternity parenting is a service-oriented way of life. My children are all grown and gone. But there are still times when they need ME. They need reassurance, or guidance, a sounding-board, or prayer. I needed my Mom’s company and love until she died. I still miss those things.

But, back to my point.

A life time of serving the needs of your children means you must also serve your husband or wife, and yourself. Guard your own health and the health of your marriage. It’s often said that the greatest thing you can do for your children is to deeply love your husband or wife.

sai-de-silva-41029-unsplashWhen they are infants, we parents must do everything for our babies. But as they grow we must also grow and learn how to gradually transfer that responsibility to them. You would agonize over a child who never grew physically. Never learned to walk or talk, read or write. But many parents can’t seem to let them grow up in the areas of self-care and responsibility for self. It stunts their personal growth.

Parenting by God’s design is a continuous act of letting go. Teaching and encouraging them to do all they can for themselves so they become healthy adults.

 

 

 

Mr. Chapman and Dr. Campbell say (page 85):

“You should do for your children what they cannot do for themselves…
Thus, acts of service has an intermediate step. We serve our children, but as they are ready, we teach them how to serve themselves and then others.”

On Pinterest you can find hundreds of handy charts that give you an idea of things most children can do for themselves at various ages. Use them as guides to help you know when and what is appropriate for your children.

Lovingly serving our children is not slavery. Yes, there are many times when their needs must come ahead of our own. We are not only meeting their needs, but are teaching them by our examples the joy of serving others.

For children whose primary Love Language is Acts of Service.

• When they ask you to repair a toy or hem a skirt, they aren’t just asking for a job to be done. They are asking you to demonstrate your love for them.
• Be sure you are utilizing the other Love Languages, too, or your child can become a despot in your home.
• Their Language doesn’t mean you need to jump every time they require something. Remember, one act of service you must do as a parent is to teach them how to do things for themselves.
• If you do the requested act with a negative attitude or words instead of expressing love you are piling discouragement on your child.
• These children love to do things for others—including YOU. Let them try to clean for you, cook for you, make things for you. Accept their acts of service with gratitude and joy. That will give them the love and joy they need.

Picture Book Women’s History Month-Mary Shelly

A picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring a 2018 picture book about a woman making history! Happy Women’s History Month!

She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelly Created Frankenstein was written by Lynn Fulton and illustrated by Felicita Sala. It was published in 2018 by Alfred A. Knopf.

I suppose almost everyone has heard of Frankenstein! But many people haven’t read the original story by Mary Shelly. Many of us are only familiar with the story as seen in movies and television. She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelly Created Frankenstein is about the creator of that original tale. It focuses on how she conjured up the fantastic story out of her imagination.

Frankenstein  was meant to be frightening. But Shelley also meant it to be thoughtful about loneliness and rejection, about not fitting in.

Reading this picture book made me determine to go back read the classic tale myself.
It might just motivate your children or students to do the same thing!

5 Love Languages – Gifts

This post by Jean Matthew Hall is part of a ten-part series for parents on the Five Love Languages of Children. It is based primarily on the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. (Northfield Publishing, 1997)

For the Introduction to the series click here. For a brief description of each Language click here. For ways to discover your child’s Love Language click here.

Problems with Giving Gifts:

Birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations are wonderful, fun opportunities to give our children gifts. Giving and receiving gifts can powerfully communicate love, or other less desirable things. Some parenting styles run into problems with this aspect of communicating love.

How many gifts is too many? How often is too often? Do gifts need to be earned? How much is too expensive? What’s the difference between a gift and a reward? Are gifts expected by your children? Are they demanded? Do gifts from parents come with some expectation or cost? Are parents giving gifts to replace the other Love Languages?

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Burst

Key Elements of Gift Giving to Children:

• Tangible gifts cannot replace Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time and Acts of Service.
• Generosity and the grace of giving have little to do with the price tag of the gift.
• Purchase gifts thoughtfully, not based on advertisements and popularity.
• Not every gift (toy) needs to be educational.
• Lavishing children with gifts dilutes their significance and their power to say, “I love you.” It also leads children to expect to be showered with gifts, and to become selfish.
• Gifts should be genuine expressions of love.
• Except for special surprises (like Christmas and birthdays) most gifts should be picked out by both the parent and the child.
• Often the best gifts don’t come from a store. Hand-made gifts, tickets to events, special meals out bring just as much joy.
• Never attach conditions or strings to gifts you give children.

For children whose primary Love Language is Gifts:

• These children will always react BIG to gifts with joy and excitement.
• They expect fanfare! They want gifts wrapped or special delivered.
• They love to open their gifts with your undivided attention.
• They will have lots of “keepsakes” and make a special place in their room for the gift. They’ll hang onto gifts for a long time. Every time they see or use the gift they will remember that you love them.
• Gifts are more than mere objects to these children. They are truly expressions of your love for them.
• Anticipating Christmas and birthdays can be agony for these kids. Be patient with them.
• They also love to GIVE gifts to the people they love. Help them.

Picture Book for Women’s History Month-Libba

A picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall featuring a 2018 picture book about a woman making history! Happy Women’s History Month!

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotton is a nonfiction picture book written by Laura Veirs and illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. It was published in 2018 by Chronicle Books.

Libba Cotton was a famous folk music composer and performer. She became a performance musician under most unlikely circumstances.

• She grew up in poverty
• She grew up as a Person of Color in the segregated South
• She was left-handed
• She was a girl
• She wasn’t well educated

But Libba persevered. She taught herself to play guitar. She never lost her love of music. It was many years before she performed on stage or became well know. But Libba made history with her passion for making music.

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