“What’s your love language?” We often ask this question in the midst of a casual conversation, as a way to get to know our friends (or even potential lovers) better. But, did you know that the Five Love Languages is actually a theory that was developed by a marriage counselor, Gary Chapman, in 1992? This theory was a response to providing married couples with a concrete guide to better understand and love each other.
The 5 Love Languages
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Acts of service
- Quality time
Chapman believes that love is essential in a person’s emotional needs. Without love (and affection), the person is more likely to grow to be insecure.
How children learn to love: The parents’ role in building a solid and secure foundation of love from Chapman & Campbell (2012)
- Children learn to give the love that they receive. Unconditional love is very important. “Receiving love and learning to give love is the soil out of which all positive endeavors grow.” (Chapman & Campbell, 2012)
- Children need to develop relational skills in order to treat others with equal value. Healthy self-esteem is important during the early years. Otherwise, the child will either see themselves as superior to others or as unworthy. Parents must maintain a balance between challenging and encouraging their child.
- Do not be afraid to show your emotions and communicate your love! Children notice things that we do not notice. They are sensitive to their parents’ emotions.
How to find out your child’s Love Language
- Keep your child’s’ love tank full. Specific love languages usually emerge at around age 5, so children below this age will not be showing a specific preference on how they want to give and receive love. As their parents, what can be done is to provide them with a variation of all the 5 love languages throughout their early childhood to ensure that their love tanks are always full 🙂
- Observe patterns. Children do not develop a specific love language until they are about 5 years old. Until then, parents can make observations and take note of which language of love their child seems to be more responsive to as their children grow older.
- Ask your child. If, after making constant observations throughout your child’s development, you still are unsure of what their love language is, you can ask them! Avoid assuming that your child already knows that you love them.. Even though they can sense the different ways that you show affection, it is still important for parents to always communicate with their child, in order to better give the love that their child can appreciate.
Chapman, G. D. (2010). The 5 love languages, mens edition: The secret to love that lasts. Chicago: Northfield Pub.
Chapman, G. D., & Campbell, R. (2012). The 5 love languages of children: The secret to loving children effectively.