You know you love your child. But how can you make sure your child knows it?
The #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages® has helped millions of couples learn the secret to building a love that lasts. Now discover how to speak your child’s love language in a way that he or she understands.
Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell help you:
Discover your child’s love language
Assist your child in successful learning
Use the love languages to correct and discipline more effectively
Build a foundation of unconditional love for your child
Plus: Find dozens of tips for practical ways to speak your child’s love language.
Discover your child’s primary language—then speak it—and you will be well on your way to a stronger relationship with your flourishing child.
Did you miss our webinar with Dr. Gary Chapman? Here’s a recap below. And you can watch the full webinar here.
How did this book come about?
The original book, The 5 Love Languages, had a chapter related to children, and we got so many messages from parents requesting more info. So we wrote this book and expanded it to children.
All parents love their children, so that’s not the question. The question is do they feel loved. The reality is children have different love languages just like adults do. If you don’t speak their primary love language they won’t feel loved. For example, in my practice I had a 13 year old patient who was a runaway. He told me his parents didn’t love him. I knew his parents andI knew they did - but the problem was they had never learned how to communicate love in a way that was meaningful to him emotionally.
The 5 Love Languages - to review:
Words of affirmation: words of praise, but also words of affection. Verbalizing to the child positive things about them. Or you see them doing something that’s “good” (i.e. sharing) - looking for things that you observe about them. It can be looks - “I love your smile”, or personality “I love how kind you are to your friends”. We want to praise their effort, not perfection. I had experience w a 13 year old with stomach ulcers. When asked about his dad, he said he doesn’t please his father. If he gets a B, his father will say you didn’t get an A. If I mow the lawn, you missed a spot. If I had a double in baseball, you should have run faster and got a triple. So reward them for their effort. This works well for your husbands too!
Acts of service - doing something they would like you to do. The reality is, we do this for them already - cooking etc. As they get older, we speak this language by teaching them to do it for themselves.
Gifts - shows the child you were thinking about them
Quality time - giving them your undivided attention, no multitasking
Physical touch: we’ve long known the emotional power of touch
So the basic idea is that out of these 5, each child has a primary love language, and you want to give them heavy doses of that one. You want to do all 5 languages, but focus on their primary.
What age do you see the love language develop?
By 3-4 years old you can determine their primary love language by the way they relate to you. For example, when my kids were young, and I would come home from work, my son would run to the door and start climbing all over me. My daughter never did that - she would say “daddy can you come to my room I want to show you something” - she needed my time.
Until you know what their primary love language is, just give them all 5.
Let’s talk about gifts - obviously we’re not talking about iPhones here. And a lot of kids just want want want. How do we meet the need for gifts without going broke or spoiling them?
Well we obviously don't give them everything they ask for. You want to make sure you’re not giving them something because they did something for you - i.e. if you clean your room you get those shoes you wanted. It’s more of a gift because we love you, not because of what you did. You can also use things that you buy them on a regular basis and wrap them up as “gifts” - for example, their school clothes. Make sure you get credit for it!
What’s your advice for parents of multiple kids - 4 kids - how do you balance it?
We do want to communicate equality. You don’t just speak one language to them - you want to cover all five. For example, I had a patient who said they brought gifts home for their daughters from their travels. One daughter was super excited and said thank you. The other daughter seemed ungrateful - but it just wasn’t her love language. She wanted to see their photos from the trip - she wanted their time.
When they get to be teenagers does their language change?
No but you have to give different dialects. For example, physical touch - when they’re 10, you can go give them hugs in public etc. Teenagers are a different story - they want nothing to do with public affection, you have to show affection in private. It’s also important to remember teenagers' emotions go up and down depending on the day - if they come near you, you can take advantage of the situation and show affection. Be sensitive to where they are.
One of my biggest struggles is when I’m working and my kids need my attention, then they claim I’m “always working”. How can I meet their needs?
If you know quality time is their love language - give them attention now, do your work later. I think the same thing is true with older children. If you’re talking to your child and someone calls and you answer the phone, you’ve just communicated that that person is more important than they are. We need guidelines on when we can answer phones and go online. But I feel strongly about having mealtimes together - no phones, tv, any tech. Maybe start with each person telling one thing that happened today. My kids say their fondest memories are sitting around the dinner table.
To shift gears - you talk about how critical their love tank is - can you share a little about that?
I think it affects everything else in their life. We want to keep their “love tank” full by speaking their love language. When they feel loved it affects the way they listen to you, how they respond, you will have less discipline issues because a lot of misbehavior is trying to get parents attention.
It’s amazing how powerful words are. Talking about anger - it’s so important to deal with our own anger and how it manifests in our children - can you talk more about that?
Personally I didn’t have a problem w anger until I got married! Then I had a lot of anger with my teenage son. We had to learn together. I saw my son yelling and I realized he got it from me. They way we handle our anger, we are modeling. One night yelling with my son, I stopped and said, “can we figure this out together? I’m angry. Can we talk?” It was a huge turning point. We figured out how to handle our anger together. We are modeling what our parents did. But we can change that.
Thank you for your time and congratulations on your memoir!
For more information on The 5 Love Languages of Children, click here