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The 5 Love Languages and Your Parenting Style

As a family life and child development expert, JP has devoted years in nurturing students and strengthening family relations.

What is your child's love language?

What is your child's love language?

What Is Your Child's Love Language?

How do you show love for your child?

Unfortunately, your child's love language may not be the same as yours. If this is true, your child may not feel the love you give or perceive you as a loving parent.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. According to Dr. Chapman, author of the book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, we express our love in five ways:

  1. affirming words,
  2. the quality time we spend with someone,
  3. our physical connection with another,
  4. acts of service, and
  5. receiving/providing gifts.

Each person tends to favor one of these love languages. However, it is when our love language isn’t met that we feel “less loved.” This brings us to an important question: are we using the right love language with our child?

Your love languages may not be the same as your child's. If so, your child may not interpret your actions as caring or loving. It is therefore important to understand the love language of our children. When we do, we can choose the appropriate parenting style.

Words of affirmation: Talk to your child and say something nice.

Words of affirmation: Talk to your child and say something nice.

Words of Affirmation and Your Parenting Style

A student of mine ran up to me crying, and it was no fake cry. She was sobbing and barely able to breathe. After I was able to calm her down, I inquired why she felt so terrible at the start of the day. It turned out her mom had driven off without saying goodbye or saying "I love you."

The other students were quite surprised at her emotional outburst, but I had an inkling why she was like this. There had been times when simple praise had made her day... and other times when something was said that upset her deeply and made her extremely emotional.

Affirming words is one of the love languages and, for individuals who prefer this love language, hearing nice words can motivate and energize.

How to Use Words of Affirmation as a Parent:

If your child shows a preference for this love language, here are strategies to show your affection.

  • Say “I love you,” emphatically and often. Your child will always appreciate these powerful words. Don’t be stingy with your expressions.
  • Learn to say “sorry.” Parents are never perfect, and there are moments when our actions are less than ideal. Apologizing and admitting you made a mistake will make a big difference.
  • Praise your child often. Take notice of his/her achievements and acknowledge them wholeheartedly.
  • Write love notes and fond letters. Words are not just spoken—we can write them, and our kids will appreciate it. You can slip notes of encouragement, cute love letters, or words of praise into their lunchbox, or you can tuck these notes in drawers, pockets, or anyplace where your child will find them.
  • Talk to your child. A short and simple conversation can show how much you care. And when you do talk, focus on the child instead of ranting how difficult your day was or how tiresome it is to pick up their mess.

What Parents Should Avoid:

  • Avoid words of discouragement, as they intensify problems rather than help solve them. Choose your words carefully.
  • Never tell them that you don’t care. There are times when our apathy can plunge like a knife into our child’s heart.
  • Avoid cursing and cussing at your child. Instead, use words that are productive and encouraging.
  • Never Saying “I Love You.” When you love someone, you tell them. It’s that simple. Whether your child is a toddler or an adult, you never stop professing your love for your child.

As a parent, whether your child’s love language is words of affirmation or not, praise their best qualities and tell them you love them constantly. Exhaust all means to show you care and that you will be there for them. Children will love the assurance that they are not alone and that they are loved.

Spend quality time with your children.

Spend quality time with your children.

Quality Time and Your Parenting Style

It’s quite amazing how the games my daughter and I played changed over the years. When she was a toddler, she enjoyed jumping on my back. A few years later, we’d grapple on the sofa, on the floor, and practically any place where she’d try to do an arm bar on me. When she learned to ride a bike, we’d ride together. Now when she asks me to play with her, we log in to our Roblox account and run around a digital world.

The time spent with my daughter is never wasted time. We cultivate love with each moment together. As parents, we need to spend time with our children, especially if your child experiences love that way, especially. Quality time with your child is never measured in minutes. Rather, it’s the connections you build and strengthen no matter how fleeting it may be.

How to Use Quality Time as a Parent:

  • Schedule time. Set a time each day to be with your child.
  • Make sure to connect. When you’re away for a long period, take the time to call or video chat.
  • Make even extra time. Surprise your child with time together.
  • Spend the time positively. Focus on your child when you spend time with them.
  • Unscheduled time. Check up on your child from time to time and just learn how they are doing.
  • Have a special day just for your child. You can cook together, play together, draw or paint together.
  • If you must miss time together, assure the child that you will be back.

What Parents Should Avoid:

  • Never let a day pass without being with your child.
  • Not focusing on your child when you are together.
  • Leaving the child alone for extended periods.
  • Suddenly leaving without saying goodbye.

Our time is a resource that will never be replenished. As such, we utilize whatever time we have in matters that are important to us. If your child is important to you, and if that is how they experience love, then spend time together.

Hugs are a perfect ways to show you care.

Hugs are a perfect ways to show you care.

Physical Touch and Your Parenting Style

Children love hugs, but some need them more than others. Some individuals place extra value on touch and physical connection, and these are the people who prefer physical touch as their love language. For them, a hug can mean more than any expensive gift, and depriving them of physical contact and closeness is utterly devastating.

How to Use Physical Touch as a Parent:

  • Hug your child. This may seem simple but it does a lot for your child’s emotional well-being.
  • Brush and comb your child’s hair. This is more than just grooming for them, it’s love.
  • Hold their hand, especially when going new places or meeting new people.
  • Play physical games where you need to touch or be in close proximity with your child.
  • Pat your child to sleep. This works—at least it did for my daughter when she was younger.

What Parents Should Avoid:

  • Spanking your child is never a good choice in disciplining them.
  • Not hugging or kissing your child, especially after long periods of not being together.
  • Not letting your child get close to you.

I remember waking up around 4 in the morning to my 3-year-old screaming and jumping on my stomach. Every day was the same, except for what type of fierce animal she was pretending to be. It was an early morning bonding for us. I miss waking up to the roar of a toddler pretending to be a lion. Cherish those moments when you can still hold and hug your child. Soon, they may not be so willing to give you a hug in public.

Acts of Service. Do something special for your child.

Acts of Service. Do something special for your child.

Acts of Service and Your Parenting Style

Actions that go beyond what they expect is seen as love and caring. But how does that translate to showing your love for your kids? Well, think about ways to lighten their load. Also, think about gestures that they will surely like. Moreover, do these acts of service spontaneously and that is more special. I remember the smile on my daughter’s face when we went out one weekend and she decided where to go. There was also another time when she decided what movie we will watch and what food we will have.

How to Use Physical Touch as a Parent:

  • Help them with a chore that you assigned
  • Give them a pass on their chores for the day
  • Take extra time helping them out with their home works or school work
  • Serve them breakfast in bed
  • Prepare their favorite dessert
  • Let them decide where to go on a weekend trip (of course within budget)

What Parents Should Avoid:

  • Treating your child like a servant
  • Giving chores and tasks beyond their capabilities
  • Acting like your child does not exist
  • Unfair treatment of siblings
Give your child gifts that they love.

Give your child gifts that they love.

Receiving Gifts and Your Parenting Style

For a child, receiving gifts is fun. This becomes doubly special when your child’s love language is receiving gifts. This type of love is fairly straightforward - kids love gifts. Don’t think that you are “buying” your child’s love through gifts. Rather, your child responds positively in the tangible expression of love. But how can you truly show how much you love your child through giving gifts? Here are some suggestions.

How to Use Gifts as a Parent:

  • Surprise your child with something that he/she really wants
  • Leave little tokens of appreciation for your child to find
  • Give your child gifts that you yourself made
  • Go out with your child and allow them to choose a gift to buy

What Parents Should Avoid:

  • Promising to buy the child a certain gift and not doing so
  • Purposely destroying a gift you gave as a punishment
  • Giving a gift you promised to someone else, and letting the child see you do it

Our love language may differ from our child. How we show it may differ from what they perceive as love. So, avoid hasty generalization about not being appreciated. Furthermore, your child may prefer more than one type of love language. As such, know how they respond to different expressions of love. Lastly, keep in mind that when you offer the child’s love language they will appreciate and feel the love even more. However, when you withhold this love language it will seem to be the most cruel of all punishment for the child. Thus, our behaviors whether intentional or otherwise, affects our relationship with our children.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 JP Carlos