Dr. Jenny Klipp
I have been challenged by Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages of Children. Chapman describes how each child uniquely expresses and receives love through one of the five love languages or communication styles. He discusses the fact that we as adults may reach out and even bend over backwards to show love to a child, but if we don’t do it in a language that is most meaningful to him/her, the child may still feel unloved.
He identifies the five predominant love languages as:
- Physical Touch: a high five, pat on the back, family members giving hugs and holding hands
- Words of Affirmation: encouraging words, compliments, praising the child for who he/she is
- Quality Time: presence, undivided attention
- Gifts: tokens of what that child means to you, small but meaningful items
- Acts of Service: doing something for the child that he/she couldn't do alone, giving assistance
Children have so many needs. Discovering a child’s language takes time and effort, but the benefits are immeasurable. To identify a child’s language, Chapman recommends observing how the child expresses love, listening to what he/she requests, noting areas of frequent complaint, and giving the child a choice between two options (two love languages). Not only will speaking the same love language help us better reach them, but it also impacts areas such as learning, discipline, and anger management. Chapman encourages readers to speak to children in each of the five love languages but intentionally focus particularly on the predominant language that fills the child’s “love tank.”
If you are looking for a thought-provoking book on reaching and loving children, I would highly recommend this book. It has inspired me to be more intentional in getting to know our students and in how I express my care and concern for them as I work with them on a daily basis.