How do your kids know you love them? When my daughter, Alissa, was six or seven, she would say that I didn’t love her. Of course, this was extremely upsetting! I love her SO MUCH. Every night I would make sure to tell her, “I Love You”. I told her every day. I knew how important it was for kids to hear those words and it broke my heart that the message wasn’t getting through.
It wasn’t until I discovered The Five Love Languages®, by Dr. Gary Chapman, that I was able to figure out why Alissa didn’t feel I loved her. I wasn’t speaking her language! According to Dr. Chapman, there are five different love languages and every person gives and receives love differently.
I found out that my primary love language is “words of affirmation”, so I was giving love by saying it, but Alissa’s primary love language is actually “gifts”. When I said “I love you”, it meant nothing to her. I started expressing my love for her by speaking her language. It didn’t have to be anything extravagent. For example, when I was away somewhere I might find something that made me think of her like a heart-shaped rock. This meant far more to her than my words ever did.
That’s not to say that saying “I love you” to your kids isn’t important, it is! But it is also important to know how they primarily understand you love them and to work to communicate that effectively.
Gary Chapman’s website has a great resource to figure out your primary love language for yourself, your child or even your spouse. Click on the link below to take the quiz.
A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages®. In his book he explains how people give and receive love in five different ways. Thank you, Dr. Chapman, for writing your book and helping my family and I communicate so much better!