Learning the Love Languages

I’ve been reading The Five Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. I had previously read Chapman’s book about love languages between married couples, which was very helpful. It’s amazing how much more smoothly family life goes when you’re focusing your energies in the right place.

It has become increasingly clear that my oldest girl, Kiara, has the same love languages as me. Her top two are physical touch (mostly in the form of lengthy snuggling sessions at least twice a day, which is the minimum she needs to have her love tank full–plus several other meaningful touches at every possible opportunity) and words of affirmation. If I tell her what I like most about her, she will often say that she is so happy, she could cry.

I’ve noticed that I crave acknowledgment and affirmation. If I’m not getting plenty of verbal feedback, I lose energy fast. Since Kiara and I are alike in this way, it’s really easy for us to “click”. And when either one of us is mildly criticized, let alone yelled at, we really take it hard. We both find it easy to tell each other what we like about each other.

Leila, on the other hand, speaks different love languages from me. She craves quality time. This one is tough for me, since I’m usually very focused on what I’m doing, and don’t like distractions, or people slowing me down. I really have to work on remembering to invite her to join me for a trip to the grocery store, or asking her if she’d like to help me make brownies. I would rather do these things by myself, but I know that if I want a little girl who feels loved and isn’t angry and begging for affection, I need to take the time to care for her in this way.

She also likes gifts. I really couldn’t care less about gifts, most of the time. Nice as they are. But I know that if I get something for Kiara and not Leila, there will be an explosion. Just a box of tic-tacs or sneaking an extra brownie will take Leila a long way in the gifts department. She likes to savor each gift as long as she can, and refer to the person who gave it to her. She will keep a dress that “grandma gave me” long after it’s too short.

Liam still hasn’t differentiated too much. He’s happy with any kind of small gift, with me saying “I love you”, giving and getting hugs, tickles and kisses, having help with getting dressed, and time together. It will be interesting to see which ones he gravitates to as he gets older.

My husband is an acts of service and physical touch guy. He’s the person you want to have around if you need something fixed, or need a special favor. He’s always got the time to help someone, day or night. And he starts to fade if he feels like he’s not getting noticed with touch and acts of kindness toward him.

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