Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Love language translation...

So, many of you are familiar with the work of Dr. Gary Chapman. The love language book is often used in pre-marital counseling, preparing men and women to effectively communicate though they give and receive love in different "languages".
It has been helpful in my own marriage. I thrive on words of affirmation, while my husband prefers quality time. Secondary for both of us is physical touch.

Adding children to our marriage, I put the book out of my mind, that is, until recently.

You see, we have three girls. They are each two years apart and all still fairly young. They are quite different from each other and the communication between child and parent is not always clear.

What I have realized is that my oldest is just like me-very strong verbal skills and words of affirmation. She frequently draws pictures for me with eloquent words of praise and adoration. She compliments me with many words.
My second-born is not very verbal at all. She loves to be near you. She frequently wants to be hugged, held, patted on the head, and if I brush her hair she almost melts in contentment!
My youngest seems to be more verbal than physical, but we're still getting to know her.

If you know your love language, what I am about to tell you will hopefully get through quickly. It shocked me when it first came to my mind.
If you use a person's love language to affirm them, you will do great good. If you discipline in their main love language, you can do great harm.

Imagine myself, a words of affirmation person, receiving an angry lecture belittling me, tearing me apart word by word! I will hang onto every word and meditate on the lashes for quite a while. I'm photographic with those words. If I were to receive a different discipline such as removal of a toy or loss of a privilege, it would not crush my spirit the way this would.

The fragile heart of a child is even easier to wound. Can you imagine how empty my eldest would feel after such a harsh way of discipline?
Well then, imagine the physical touch child. Desperately thirsty for love and affection, communicated best through loving hands, subjected to a harsh physical beating.
Most parents are not going to give a harsh physical beating like I have described, but rather a short, loving, and firm physical connection of sting to bottom. Still, I have really been thinking about it.
Especially as it had never seemed to affect her behavior.

For some children, the occasional spanking is a temporary reminder of negative reinforcement and is effective. I would like to suggest that for a physical touch child, this may be the wrong approach and may be the reason that you find yourself thinking "spanking doesn't work!"
For a physical touch child, I would like to suggest temporary removal from those around (i.e. time out in their room or another place where they do not have physical access to friends or siblings).
They may get loud and upset, but that also tells you it is effective. They are very upset to be away from you when they long for your tender, loving touch instead.
Also, make sure you DO embrace when they are calmed. You will soothe their hearts and let them know it was a temporary separation. That your love has not gone away!
Then, their hearts will blossom and flourish!

What other love languages do your children express or communicate through??
Have you found the same truths as I have or is your experience completely different?


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