I’ve started reading a book on my Kindle, out of my sheer need to understand more about my kiddos and how they think. It’s the Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman.
I’ve been a mom for over eleven years, yet still I fumble in this area of figuring out what love language my kids understand. My husband said it should be fairly straightforward to figure out, and maybe it should, but I’m a little dense sometimes. I get caught up in day to day thinking and often don’t stop to think about how what I’m communicating really feels to those around me.
I’m not a good communicator generally. I like to write. I don’t think enough about other ways to communicate love. I do them, some intuitively, and some not so naturally, but I really don’t stop and think about who needs what, are they getting enough, etc, and I wonder why I get brick walls sometimes. I don’t even know my own love language, and I’m not too sure about my husband’s. So much for women’s intuition. 🙆
I decided that, as I read through this book, I’d try to go ahead and put into practice each love language as I learn more about it, and see who responds most to which language. Everyone needs all the ways of showing love shown to them, but we all have a particular way that we best understand love when we see it.
The five love languages, according to this book, are 1). Physical touch. 2). Words of affirmation. 3). Quality time. 4). Gifts. 5). Acts of service. Interestingly, the only person I know for sure that I know their love language is my mom. I’m pretty sure her love language is gifts. If not, she’s pretty good at faking it! 🎁💝🎄
Today’s language is physical touch. This includes hugs, pats on the back, running fingers through hair, fist punches, high fives, and just any kind of loving touch. This language doesn’t come completely natural to me. Somewhat, it does, but not all the time. I think of giving hugs at bedtime, when someone gets hurt, or when I say good-bye, but I don’t always think about walking by and patting someone’s head, or just giving a little tickle.
I do know that one of our sons seems to have a yearning for this kind of love. He’s the one who always has a kitty in his arms to hug, loves to tickle others, and who even loves fuzzy things to feel. 🐣 He has a love for snuggles! And sometimes, I hate to admit it, but I feel smothered when someone gets too much into my personal space! So, this language is one that I need to work on during the regular events of the day, and not to just save hugs and pats for predictable times.
My goal for today is to give a pat or some physical expression of love to each child, as I remember, and to my husband, too, and just see what happens! It’s currently almost eleven in the morning, and I’ve already started. I gave head rubs and little thumps on the rumps as we walked along, in good fun, gave some hugs, and little back pats as we prepared for school and as we are sitting here doing our schoolwork. I’ve already received looks of surprise and smiles, and to my surprise, have begun to receive some pats on my own back–not from my middleman, as I expected more, but from my eldest, who seems less physical. It’s food for thought. 👩💭
Because I can’t resist the urge to make a homeschool assignment out of everything, I gave the boys a creative writing assignment on this topic. I think because I feel so dense about what they each need, I wanted to hear what they think love looks like. I gave them a page of prompts for ideas to get going, then asked them to write down how they would know if Mommy or Daddy loves them. I told them they could keep it a secret if they wanted to. Wish I hadn’t said that! 😕 One boy took me seriously. That won’t help me much, but I’m hoping maybe he will change his mind!
(It’s several hours later now, and, as I hoped, he did let me read what he wrote 😊)
What the boys wrote actually did surprise me. Which does worry me, but I’d rather learn …
What our middleman wrote in his paper surprised me! I thought I had him pretty much pegged, but he didn’t write that he feels like we love him when we give him lots of hugs! Now, I know that he loves them, but what he shared actually indicated that he feels love through acts of service done for him, or maybe it’s a little bit mixed in with quality time. I guess maybe I should have picked up on this. My husband has commented before that he is really helpful at doing little things without being told, but where I see life, things are a little different. I see the school end where we have to labor to keep focused, and so I don’t have as much opportunity to see this side of him. But, I have some ideas now. “How I know that you love me: when you help me cook…when you help me make my bed…” I had no idea! I so often push the boys out of the kitchen because I like a little space, but such a simple thing could increase our son’s feelings of being loved! 💡
And at the end of the paper was a command to me: DO NOT TRASH!
(Don’t worry; I plan to keep it!)
Our firstborn, the secretive one for awhile, didn’t surprise me too much, but he did a little. His definitely indicated a love for quality time spent together. “How I know when Mommy loves me is when she lets me pick a video and when she reads me a story. ”
“How I know when Daddy loves me is when he lets me help him work and when he gives me a hug and says I love you…” And he drew a picture of Daddy working along the railroad…. I found it interesting that the activities vary depending on who’s spending the time with him; he doesn’t find it loving for me to let him help me do my work. 🙍 Wonder why…
The little Little A…I think he just wanted to cover his bases. Or else he, like me, doesn’t really know what he likes BEST, but he knows that many of the suggestions sounded good! He wrote, “how I know if you love me is you would take a walk with me and play with me, give me a hug, and give me presents, and say I love you.” 💙 Pretty much covers it all, doesn’t it? You’ve got quality time, touch, gifts, words of affirmation. Not sure if there’s acts of service, but four out of five covers quite a few!
He wouldn’t give me the paper unless I promised I would keep it forever! 💎 Not a problem!
Well, the day’s come to the end, and I feel like this has been a good opportunity for our eyes to be opened. I shared what the boys wrote with Mr. Friendly this evening, and he also was surprised at what was shared. On the surface, most of the activities that make the boys feel loved are not difficult or expensive. The difficulty lies in our own selfishness as parents, when we don’t want to step out of our routine comforts.
As for the results if the day’s experiment? I found that today was the smoothest and most enjoyable of our days this week! Really! At the end, all was peace in the home, and I think that we all felt like we’d had success instead of defeat. We didn’t have a perfect day, but I did find that the consequences that had to be given out were taken with much less drama than when we are all running on empty love tanks.
All of the boys responded to extra loving touch. We had more smiles, and they all seemed more cuddly and positive. And silly. I can’t say that any one boy responded more or less than the others, they all responded. I expected response from Middle A, and he gave more smiles and tickles. Little Guy was more reserved, and sometimes pretended like he didn’t like the attention. But he did seem happy in general, and I don’t feel like he was unresponsive, just not so obvious about it.
But Big A did surprise me the most. He really blossomed under the attention, and seemed half shy/half happier and surprised himself. I really think that a lightbulb came on with me. Our issues were so much less today. We both were encouraged. And what did it cost? Just some extra focus on giving what the boys need to feel loved! A few hugs, plenty of pats and hair ruffling, and an attitude willing to learn!
I am definitely looking forward to the next few days as we explore another way to show love. Should be interesting!