This article was originally posted here.
Do you love your children? You will say, “Of course I do!” And I believe you. But do your children know that you love them? How?
Children have been fearfully and wonderfully made. And each child has been made unique. They are individuals. Any parent of multiple children can attest to the fact that every child is different. Yes, every child has unique gifts and a unique calling given by God. A specific purpose. And with that, we have to recognize that we cannot raise each of our children exactly the same. Considering this, effective education and training will require special care and attention to detail in order to discover who our children have been made to be.
My wife and I have adopted three children so far. They are all close in age, so we tend to notice their different characters and how they are developing at different rates and in different areas. We have really paid attention to the ways that our children are different. Their special strengths. Their unique challenges. The things they enjoy most. What we find them gravitating towards. How they learn. What we have more recently been studying, if you will, is how they give and receive love.
Loving Others Effectively
In the book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell speak of the different ways children give and receive love. Dr. Gary Chapman discovered that there are five primary ways that people give and receive love. Though everyone needs all of these expressions of love, some mean more to a particular person than others. The five different love languages are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Physical Touch
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
Saying “I Love You”
A parent may “say” I love you, whether in words, gifts, quality time, acts of service, or physical touch. And in the same way, children will receive love in those five different ways. So again I ask: does your child know that you love them, and how? Apparently people will rank higher in some of the languages than others. In fact most people, if not all people, have a primary love language. People will often be more prone to “speak” their primary love language as well. A good way to determine what one’s love language might be is to look at a person’s behavior. Are they always wanting to hug other people? Chances are, physical touch is high on their list. Do they not hesitate to speak a word of encouragement to others? Words of affirmation will quite likely be one of their primary languages.
What about young children? How do you determine their primary love language? I would highly recommend reading The 5 Love Languages of Children to get more insight on this. In the book, there is a lot of practical advice and plenty of real-life stories and examples to aid you in loving your children effectively. Remember, we need to be loving our children with each of the different love languages. This will also help them learn to love others using all five of the different love languages.
Resources for You
Find out what your children’s love languages are by filling out this questionnaire:
The Love Languages Mystery Game from the 5 Love Languages website.