What’s that you say?
You think I’m crazy, between hearing YOLO and LOL you’re not sure your kids have mastered the English language, but you’re sure that they are not bilingual.
But I’m talking about another language, a love language.
Dr. Gary Chapman, a pioneer in modern relationship counseling, discovered the love languages originally in his work with couples during marriage counseling. From this groundbreaking work, he went on to customize books for individuals, teens, and children. Each has a ratings scale of sorts that asks you to choose between things you would rather have. The idea being that the “things”, namely gifts or kind words, to name a few, will help identify the way you experience love, the way you feel loved, and they way others can express love.
Dr. Chapman identified 5 languages;
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
In theory, by honing in on the language that someone speaks you can find easier ways to show your love in a way that will be deeply felt by the one you love.
I decided to give this a whirl with my seven year old, Lauryn. I’ve not tried this with anyone younger than five, but I do plan to test it on my Leila. My theory is that she is a physical touch baby, but I would like to confirm that.
For Lauryn, I had a hunch that she was words of affirmation. She lives for positive reinforcement, is a teachers dream and takes verbal reprimands pretty hard. But when she began answering the online quiz, it became clear, I was wrong. Here is her profile.
8 Quality Time
6 Words of Affirmation
3 Acts of Service
3 Physical Touch
0 Receiving Gifts
People with the love language of quality time like it when others do things with them like play a game, watch television, or go to a ballgame.
Words of Affirmation
People whose love language is words of affirmation like for others to use words to tell them that they are special and that they do a good job.
Acts of Service
A person whose love language is acts of service likes it when others do nice things for them such as helping with chores, helping with school projects, or driving them places.
People whose love language is physical touch like to receive hugs, kisses, and high-fives.
People with the love language of gifts feel good when someone gives them a special present or surprise.
I wasn’t terribly off, but how could I have missed it. This is the kid who, literally, begs to have people come to school and have lunch with her. The one who reminds us when family night has been postponed once too often. The one who relishes in that one on one time, everyday, no matter how brief.
It’s crazy to believe that a simple thing like an online quiz can change the way you look at your family. I know we are all jaded by the “Which duck dynasty character are you?” quizzes that clutter up the facebook feeds, but who wouldn’t like a great way to streamline the parenting process?
There’s a few ways that I like to use these results, so once you know your child’s language here’s a few ways to use them in your day.
1. Streamline celebrations-To make celebrations more memorable, include the love language your child speaks. Sure a gift seems like the a natural choice, but what about choosing one that speaks to your child? A physical touch kid, for instance, might like a mani/pedi rather than another doll. Maybe your words of affirmation kid would really appreciate that hand written note from you.
2. Be mindful in discipline-When I revamped my discipline strategies with the kids, one of the things that I was mindful of was that, because I believe Leila to be a physical touch, physical punishment is particularly challenging for her. It’s basically using her language of love against her. That was enough for me.
3. Share those results!-Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who loved and cared for your child knew how to speak to them? When you go to that first day of school or ice cream social to meet the teacher, when they ask you something special about your child, you can say they really love quality time. You can give the teacher a key to connecting with your son or daughter and a way for your child to feel valued at school.
For more detailed info, check out Dr. Chapman’s series of books.