How do you know your kids love you? How do you know that when your kids show you love, you show them love? Let’s talk about Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages,” acts of service, quality time, touch, gifts, and words of affirmation. Have you already taken the five love languages and know your top two? Mine, personally, are acts of service and words of affirmation. What’s great is when you know your own, but it’s also amazing when you can learn your children. What do love languages give us? It gives us the opportunity to really know what our formula is for receiving love and feeling appreciated. I’ll give you a great example: my husband’s top two are quality time and touch; they are not mine at all. For the longest time in our relationship, of course, when it’s new, it’s all roses and butterflies; there’s nothing going wrong, and all of a sudden you feel loved, and this is your person. What happens when you get deeper into this relationship and you’re like, “Yeah, this is the guy I’m going to spend my life with?” All of a sudden there’s that segment of your relationship where you don’t really feel seen, heard, loved, or anything of the above, and vice versa.
When my husband and I took this test before we got married, we realized what was missing was that we didn’t know each other’s formula. We didn’t know the formula for him to receive love and attention, and he didn’t know mine. One of the things that we do as humans is project that ours is exactly like everybody else’s. Wouldn’t that be great if everybody had an act of service and words of affirmation because everybody would feel loved by me because I love doing things for people? However, that doesn’t happen. My husband is touched, and I realize that when he’s driving, if I just put my hand on his leg, he lights up. He feels that energy from me, and he knows that he is loved by me. When I come home from a trip and my gas is filled up in my car, the sheets are changed on the bed, and he vacuums our room, I’m like, “Oh my god! This guy loves me so much. That’s the gift of knowing your five love languages.
What happens with our children? I will tell you that I’ve asked so many kids that I’ve coached over the years—hundreds of them—how do you know your parents love them? In the beginning of coaching, I got it because they’re my mom and dad; they’re supposed to. Which is probably what I would have said years and years ago. By the end of our coaching or in the middle of our coaching, when we’re really diving deep into the family relationships and building their relationships with their parents, I will say to them again, “So now, how do you know your mom loves you or your dad?” They will say, “They spend time with me, they put their phone down, they play games with me.” In that minute, with that particular client, I knew quality time was that client’s love language. It was his way of receiving love from his parents.
If we can understand what our children’s love language is and are able to give it to them, it not only shows them that it’s worth it to love them, but it also shows them that you know them. It shows them you know how to be connected with them. So there is a test that Gary Chapman has created for kids as well. However, if you know the five love languages and just watch how you interact with your children, what lights them up? Is it when you’re cuddling them and holding them? Having just that moment of touch with them makes them feel lit up and loved. Our son loves quality time. It’s, “Will you play this game with me? Will you read with me? Will you go outside and play with me?” It’s quality time.
I have another child who’s older, and he loves to be complimented. He loves to hear what he’s doing right; he loves to hear how proud I am of him; and he loves to hear all the amazing things I see about him. Then, I have another child; he likes gifts. He knows that when I’m out and I buy him something, he lights up. It’s almost like, “Mom remembered me.” We don’t talk all the time, but when I bring him something, he lights up. He loves gifts. There’s no right or wrong love language, but what we need to find out is, for us parents, how are our kids receiving it? What would it mean to you if you were able to know when you asked your children, “How do you know mommy and daddy love you?” and they didn’t just say, “Because you have to. Because you’re my mom?” What if they were able to say, “Because you remember that time that you took that week off and you didn’t get on your phone. We went to Disneyland and we went to all these different places and it was just us. That showed me that you loved me.”
Can you just imagine understanding the depth of the five love languages and how to apply them to your children and your partner? When you two, as a couple, are able to know each other’s formula and share love the way each of them knows how to receive it, can you imagine what that’s going to do to influence your children? Remember, we are their biggest influences, from the time they’re born to the time they’re 12. They’re seeing what we’re doing, they’re hearing what we’re saying, and they’re feeling the energy of what we give to our kids, to our spouses, and to our friends. They soak it up like a sponge. They regurgitate it through themselves to project it back.
Imagine if you took the time; what would they do? How will their unconscious mind pick up on what you need to feel their love? They’re probably, like I said, projecting what you think yours is onto other people, but once you’re able to start showing them what makes you light up and just even tell them, “You know what makes mommy light up? When you put your dishes away, I don’t even have to ask you.” When I told my daughter that, she was so excited not just to show me she loved me but to show me that she was listening, that she did it, and that made her feel so proud of herself.
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