Friday 4 January 2019

What's Your Child's Love Language?

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You may have heard of the “5 Love Languages”, a book by Gary Chapman, which explains the five predominant ways people give and receive love.  

The book tends to refer to love in the context of an intimate relationship, yet the term
extends to that of family love… and, interestingly, a person’s love language is developed during early childhood experiences in the same way attachment styles are.

In summary, attachment styles are about how we connect with caregivers in that some
people form secure attachment styles whilst others form insecure attachment
styles - neither is better or worse, but a secure attachment style does tend to manifest
more stable and fulfilling relationships in later life.  Within the insecure attachment styles are
two predominant strands - anxious and avoidant.

The anxious child is the one that cries and gets in distress when their caregiver leaves them; perhaps becoming clingy in an attempt to prevent their caregiver from leaving them again.  The avoidant, however, is the child that gets distant and almost fiercely independent when their caregiver leaves them.

Think of it as a scale where both anxious and avoidant are at extreme ends; whereas a
stable attachment style is more in the centre.

The reason attachment styles are important as a precursor to discussing love languages
are that once you understand your child’s attachment style, you will better understand
their behaviour and how to relate with them effectively.

Now, let’s take a look at the five love languages - but remember, everyone values all of the
below, it’s not black and white - it’s just that people tend to have one or two predominant
love languages.

This is where people respond well to being told how much they are loved or appreciated
- these are the people that tend to like being told what a good job they have done, how
pretty or clever they are… this is the way to make a child with “words of affirmation” as
their predominant love language feel loved and cared  about.

In later life, this manifests as the person that appreciates having tasks like the washing up being done for them, or having breakfast in bed, if they are feeling low.  We all like being looked after in this way, but a person with “acts of service” as their predominant love language will require this in order to feel loved and cared about.

Again, we all like quality time, but a child with a love language of “quality time” values spending time together more than anything else - you can tell them how important they are to you, but if you aren’t physically present, they won’t be able to feel your love.  These are the children that crave bedtime stories, days out, and your attention - to the point that without it, they will feel unloved and often act out in destructive ways to engage you.

Every child likes receiving gifts, but a child with “gifts” as their love language will see gifts as much more about being loved and cared about than most others.  For instance, the chance to redeem an Amazon gift card will mean a lot more to this type of child than it  would to most others.

Finally, the child that really appreciates hugs and cuddles, or craves close contact, will tend to have a love language of “physical touch”.  As children they might want to sleep in the same bed as you, sit on your lap, or interact on a physical level such as painting nails or combing your hair

**This is a Collaborative Post**

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