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How to better love your child

Updated on September 6, 2014

All we need is love

Love is all we need
Love is all we need

Love loudly and clearly

The following is a book summary initiated and created with a lot of help from Morgan Taylor Dalrymple.

The Five Love Languages Of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M. D.

When dealing with young children, everything depends on the relationship you have with them since they are primarily emotional beings and extremely sensitive to your emotional state. Only a child who feels genuinely and unconditionally loved and cared for can do her best. Show love to your child even if his behavior is poor. If you are able to find a way to reach his heart, he will be more responsive to your guidance.

But you have to love your children on their terms—with action. Most children have a primary love language (pll), one that speaks to them more loudly than others. Watch your child; she is very likely to express love to you in the language she understands best. The 5 different love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service. However, for young children especially, you shouldn’t concentrate on just one language since they need to experience all of them. They will also use the different love languages as they grow and experiment with how to express love. Becoming multilingual in expressing love is important in order to help your child learn to give and receive love in all 5 love languages.

By expressing love in all 5 love languages, not only are you meeting your child’s emotional need for love, but you are also providing him with the physical and intellectual stimuli needed to develop his growing interests. A foundation of love is crucial in maximizing a child’s potential.

Lost in Translation

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Love Languages

Physical Touch - Touch is the easiest and most natural love language. The language of touch is not confined to hugs and kisses but includes any kind of physical contact, like holding your child on your lap, gentle wrestling, running your fingers through your child’s hair, or patting him on the back.

Words of Affirmation - Words of praise and encouragement are a powerful way to say, “I care about you.” But praise must be true and justified; otherwise, children will interpret it as insincere and false. Harsh and critical words are detrimental to all children, but to those whose pll is words of affirmation, such negative words are devastating.

Quality Time - It is not the event itself that counts but the time spent together. If you enjoy spending time with your child, you are telling him, “You are important. I like being with you.” An important part of quality time is pleasant, loving eye contact. Tip: If you have more than one child, schedule time with each of them alone. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

Gifts - For the child whose pll is the receiving of gifts, it doesn’t matter if you made, found or purchased a gift. What matters is that you thought about him. The way the gift is given (e. g. wrapping) is important also.

Tip: Be careful not to overuse this love language as a substitute for the others. In excess, gifts lose their special meaning.

Acts Of Service - Loving service is an internally motivated desire to give one’s energy to others. Avoid giving of yourself only when you are pleased with your child’s behavior, or she will learn to help only if there is something in it for her. Each request calls for a thoughtful response. You don’t want to cripple your child by not teaching her how to do things for herself, but you also don’t want to reject the request of a child whose pll is acts of service and who craves your deeds.

Behavior Modification

Love languages should not be negatively connected to behavior modification. Expressing your child’s pll only when she has pleased you is manipulation. Then your love is conditional. Withholding expressions of love in order to make your child comply communicates, “I love you, when you are good. I don’t if you are not.” Talking your child’s pll in a negative way as a way of disciplining him (hitting him when his pll is physical touch or harsh critical words when her pll is words of affirmation) is very painful and perceived as the worst form of rejection. In contrast, if you need to discipline your child, use his pll in a positive way (Hug your child first; then criticize his behavior), and your teaching will fall on fertile ground.

Discipline

A child who misbehaves might have a need. His love tank might be empty, and the first course of action should be to meet his needs. Instead of asking, “How can I correct her behavior?”, you should ask, “What does this child need?” Always use the most positive way possible to control a child’s behavior. Being pleasant but firm enhances your authority. Requests are a respectful way to acknowledge that your child can make intelligent decisions and to let her know you expect her to take responsibility for her own behavior. Requests are the best way to give instructions. Commands are occasionally necessary when requests fail. But don’t overuse them, or they become ineffective. Gentle physical manipulation can be used when you face negativism (not to be confused with defiance). Behavior modification includes positive and negative reinforcement and punishment.Be aware that negative reinforcement can lead to a “What’s in it for me?” orientation and/or manipulation, and punishment can wipe away any guilt a child might feel, hindering his ability to develop a conscience.

Love needs no words

Tip:

Only by modeling good anger management are you able to teach your child how to handle his anger. When you dump your own anger on your child, it burrows inside him, causing difficult problems in the present and the future.

Anger

Realize that anger itself is neither good nor bad but a normal human reaction. The problem is not the anger but the way it is managed. Children will naturally express anger in immature ways. Allow your child to express anger and encourage verbal expressions of anger. When a child brings normal occasional anger to you, he is also bringing himself to be trained. Help your child move up the Anger Ladder from a physically destructive, loud and unpleasant reaction towards a more positive, constructive reaction. If a child is misbehaving often and your different methods of discipline are ineffective, you can suspect passive aggressive behavior, which is a way to express anger indirectly and subconsciously with a determination to upset authority. It often represents deep unmanaged anger.

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