I recently re-read the book The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D. My copy was published back in 1997. But, the book was revised and republished in 2016.
God instituted families to be pictures of His relationship to us. The central theme of our families should be love. Love needs to permeate every activity, every conversation, every decision. I believe most parents realize this and truly do love their children. But a question of concern is, “Do our children feel like we really love them?”
In The Five Love Languages of Children Chapman and Campbell tell us that each of us has a “Love Tank”. We, as parents (and grandparents), need to keep our children’s love tanks filled all the time or they may not feel truly loved. This will impact the rest of their lives.
How do we do this? Chapman and Campbell tell us that we all express and receive love in five different ways—the Love Languages. As we mature we adopt one of the Love Languages as our primary language. So, parents need to become multi-lingual. We need to speak all of the Love Languages and specialize in the right one for each child (and each other.)
No small task.
It takes time and patience to discover someone else’s Love Language. We need to study that person carefully to determine the best ways to express our love to them—children included.
The Five Love Languages are:
Giving and receiving physical touch
Giving and receiving words of affirmation
Spending quality time with the other person
Giving and receiving gifts
Performing and receiving acts of service
When our children are infants and toddlers they need to be immersed in every possible expression of our love via all five languages. We cannot give too much true love to our little ones.
As they prepare for preschool years they start to develop their individuality and start preferring one Love Language over the others. But this changes throughout the next few years. They may try all the Love Languages on for size.
Somewhere between the ages of five and ten they usually settle into one preferred Love Language.
Teens once again seem to fluctuate between languages simply because of the emotional, mental and social stages they go through.
It’s important to focus on each child’s primary Love Language. But, it’s equally important to express and show love using all five languages.
Remember: the key here is for each child in your home to feel and know that you love them. That leads them to become emotionally, mentally and socially healthy children and adults.
Next week I’ll continue this discussion by briefly explaining each of the Five Love Languages. Then, the next week I’ll try to give you tips to help uncover your child’s (and maybe your own) primary Love Language.
Stay tuned folks! And remember – It’s nice to share!