Three kids. So alike in many ways. And so different in many ways as well. And if there’s anything that parenthood teaches you, it’s that you can expect the unexpected with them!
If you’ve picked up a copy of Dr. Gary Chapman’s book series on The 5 Love Languages, there’s one in particular for children, and it is definitely helpful in knowing how to love them. After all, it’s one thing to love your kids, it’s another for them to KNOW that you love them, and so knowing the primary and secondary love languages of your children makes it easier for you to cater to them.
I thought most children love to receive toys and presents, and I found that to be the case with my oldest 7-year-old, Jayvon. His primary love language is gift-giving, and so he writes little cards for us, love to surprise his younger siblings with a “Guess what we’re having as a treat today?” and similarly also experiences love when we get him little surprises and toys. When we were back in Singapore and both my husband and I were working full-time, it was easier to go on frequent little shopping trips to pick up the occasional lollies and small toys for him, but now that we’re in Sydney and watching our budgets like a hawk, such “treats” are fewer and rarer in between, so we have to make do, and just surprise him in other ways!
But yet, gifts didn’t rank high on my younger boy, Xavier, and while Jayvon would go wild when we went to the Toy Store, trying to get Xavier to pick out a toy for himself was like trying to extract a tooth without anaesthesia! It was painful to watch, as he would flit from one aisle to the next, fiddling with this and that, and just moving on. Jayvon, who’d chosen his present out already, would even bring “toy recommendations” to Xavier, but things seldom caught my little boy’s fancy! He simply wasn’t interested in getting any toys at all! Oh the horror! Nothing just seemed to catch his attention enough to warrant a purchase. It would seem like he was an “easier” child to please, but to really show him love, we had to know what made him happy and contented, and physical affection was the key for Xavier. He enjoyed his nightly bed-time “rub rub scratch scratch” (or back massages), he loved cuddling up on us on the couch, and he would show his affection for Zoie by taking her by the hand at the childcare centre. She was new to the centre, and refused to let go of his hands in the beginning, and he would sweetly oblige – even when he needed to use the toilet! He got trained in the art of “holding in his pee” because of his love for his younger sister! Haha! We told him he could tell Zoie to let him use the toilet, but he would shrug and say, “But she doesn’t want to let me go!”
And now when it comes to Zoie, being only 2, it wasn’t easy to figure out what her primary love language was, until she began to speak, and seeing how she beamed when she was praised, it became apparent, and her primary love language is words of affirmation. Giving her the thumbs up, praising her for a job well done or for keeping her toys, this made her break out into a wide smile!
What are the other 2 love languages? Quality Time and Acts of Service. And it doesn’t means that we only focus on that one primary love language and ignore the other love languages. All are ways to show affection and love and care to our children. But being able to identify your child’s primary love language will mean that a little more effort in that area will reap a bigger payback!
Want to know what is your love language profile? Or that of your child’s? There’s a simple online analysis to help you. Click here to check it out!