A group I belong to called MOMS (ministry of mothers in service) and today we met for our monthly meeting. Today we discussed the 5 Love Languages, a book written by Gary Chapman to help couples understand how they themselves as well as their spouse, feel loved. We also talked about how learning about the love languages helps us understand our children.
For anyone not familiar, the love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, gift giving, acts of service and physical touch.
The more I dwell on the topic, the more I realize that my son is a definite quality time little guy. Although he plays by himself, he definitely prefers to have me play with him. Of course little children delight when their parents play with them, however I have noticed how much his attitude and mood increases when he receives this time compared with the other love languages.
So I guess the question is, what determines the love languages we respond to best? Is it genetics or is it what we get used to growing up? Or is it a little bit of both? Although I'm not an expert, my opinion like many others is that it's both.
I don't have all the answers but what we can do is observe our children and notice how they respond to the different forms of love. We can also notice their response when they do not receive the love language they favor. Perhaps we notice a change in attitude or behavior.
A good friend Sarah pointed out that if a little child thrives on words of affirmation they could also be more affected by hurtful words. That is a great point and maybe we have to work a little harder to teach them appropriate responses to situations of that nature. It could also be possible that the response to hurtful words has to do with how we as parents have responded to our children's negative situations or behavior (information and techniques from The Optimistic Child). It is so hard to know where behaviors and responses originate sometimes. We can get a general idea but knowing how to change it for the better is what is important.
Resources like the 5 Love Languages and The Optimistic Child I have found extremely helpful in getting to know my children and seeking to improve emotional health.
Please leave your thoughts if you have any!