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The 5 Love Languages that parents need to know

Love languages can be described as the ways in which a person communicates their affection and expresses their feelings, usually to their significant other, on a regular basis. It also refers to how a person likes to receive love or feel loved by the other person.

Unconditional love can improve the quality of the relationship and remove negative feelings such as distrust, guilt, shame, fear, anger and so on.

In 1992, Gary Chapman, an American author and radio talk show host, published a famous book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate”. You might be wondering what the five love languages are, some of which you may be familiar with. Here are the five love languages that Chapman conceptualised:

  • Physical touch

  • Acts of service

  • Gifts

  • Quality time

  • Words of affirmation

But, are love languages only limited to romantic relationships?

Just like any other relationship, the parent-child relationship requires abundance of love for both parties to feel safe and loved.

It is important to know that the child is feeling loved by the parent, especially because it is usually the foremost relationship known to the child, and can affect the way they form relationships in the later years.

The simplest way of finding out which love language is preferred by the child, is by directly asking them how they like to be loved.

This is of course, after explaining to them what each of the love languages mean and understanding how they relate to each of them. Alternatively, you can also try all five love languages and observe what excites them the most.

Let us look at how each of the love languages can be incorporated into the parent-child relationship:

1. Physical touch

Physical touch, a primary love language since infancy, helps the children feel loved and connected deeply.

  • Hugging

  • Kissing

  • Sitting on lap

  • Back rubs

  • Massages

  • Cuddling during activities (like story reading, watching the television)

  • High-fives

  • Piggy-back rides

  • Playing contact sports (like football, basketball, kabaddi, kho-kho, karate)

  • Combing their hair

2. Acts of service

Acts of service refers to going out of one’s way to fulfill the child’s errands and making sure that the child’s needs are met. Some ways of showing acts of service are:

  • Offering help before they ask

  • Helping them to create checklists or timetables

  • Checking their homework

  • Comforting them during sickness

  • Cooking their favourite meal

  • Picking them up from school

  • Making their bed

  • Handing them warm clothes on cold days

(However, it is also important to help the child only when they ask for it, in order to foster autonomy in the child.)

3. Gifts

Gifts must not be looked at as a means to substitute love, time or commitment. They are also not to be used as a way to reward them or bribe them into doing something. Rather, it should be used as a way to show your child that you were thinking of them, or that the gift reminded you of them.

4. Quality time

Doing something that you and your child love together can lead to spending quality time. A few examples for this are:

  • Performing your favourite hobby together

  • Spending time together at the movies, theme parks, etc

  • Having quality conversations

  • Going on walks

  • Baking or cooking together

  • Eating meals together

  • Helping them with their art work and then hanging it on the fridge door

  • Taking up dancing or yoga lessons together

5. Words of affirmation

Providing words of encouragement to the child in a genuine manner can have a positive effect on them. Some examples of words of affirmation are:

  • I am proud of you

  • I love you

  • I am thankful for having you in my life

  • You are beautiful

  • You are so thoughtful

  • I believe you

  • You are important to me

  • I am here if you need me

  • You gave your best and I can see the effort you’ve put into it

In addition to this, you could also boost their self-esteem and confidence through activities like letter writing, writing notes in their lunchbox, writing them words of encouragement before a big day, and even forgiving them for their mistakes when their intentions are good.

Have you ever tried to consciously communicate in these five love languages?

If so, what are your top three favourites? Share in the comments below.


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