Parents spend much time and mental energy agonizing over the “right” way to parent, the things they “should” be doing, and what is the “best” thing for their child. Education, health, sports, and the never ending list that comes up over and over throughout their childhood, it can get tricky not to get in the comparison trap or to set realistic expectations.
It is easy to measure your success as a parent by the success of your child.
“If my child gets good grades and gets accepted into a good school, then I have succeed in my parenting duties,” one can easily think.
We equate material things, pushing them to succeed, and stressing over the importance of their resume building to love, but does your child feel the love?
Most parents who will read this do without a doubt love their child. Most parents are very well intended parents.
But does your child feel the love that you hold in your heart.
How can we ensure our children grow to know they are loved? How can we better set our children up for memories where they look back on their childhood and reminisce on all the ways you showed your love?
In taking intentional steps to understanding and building a solid parent-child relationship, parents set their child up not only with favorable memories, but also with the foundation to succeed in all the areas we hope they will. Children who feel loved and supported by their parent do better academically and have more connection in the moment’s parents correct their child.
Dr. Gary Chapman the author of, The 5 Love Languages, has a passion for helping people form lasting relationships. They have helped couples, singles, children, teens, military people, and more! In collaboration with Dr. Ross Campbell, Chapman authored, The 5 Love Languages for Children. Together they guide parents through understanding, learning, and practicing their child’s love language and how to create a relationship in which the parent and child flourish.
1. Words of Affirmation
These children thrive on being acknowledged, complimented, and praised. Their bucket gets filled each time they hear or read a positive thing about themselves. If this is your child’s love language and they are hearing more often the things they aren’t doing or what they are doing bad you can imagine how a child internalizes this as not being loved.
How does a parent implement words of affirmation into their relationship with their child?
Write a note for their lunch box. Give them a compliment when they do something well. Praise their efforts. Tell them how much you appreciate them. Actively listening to them and engaging in their conversation. Write them a letter. Talk about their strengths in front of others.
2. Acts of Service
These children thrive in a team effort atmosphere. Showing up for our children, serving them, and assisting them in their learning is a true sign of love. A child internalizes these messages as you are there for them. They want to know you are there to help if they need it.
How does a parent implement acts of service into their relationship with their child?
Make them their favorite meal after a long week. If their room is a mess and it is going to take a long time to clean up, offer to help. Sit down and help them with their homework. Tuck them in at night. Bring them a glass of water. Practice sports with them.
3. Physical Touch
These children need the hugs and the cuddles. These children will feel unloved without some sort of physical contact. This physical touch can be as simple as a high five or a hug or can include a cuddle up on the couch and watch a movie. These children thrive knowing you are there for them physically.
How does a parent implement physical touch into their relationship with their child?
Rub their back when you wake them up in the morning. Give them hugs throughout the day. Cuddle up and watch a movie together. Let them sit close when you are reading to them. Pull them up into your lap. Brush their hair before bed. Hold their hand.
These children feel good when they get something special from someone they love. A special surprise helps these children feel loved and special. These children look forward to holidays and birthday when they know they will be getting gifts, but can also be motivated by earning things. Positive reinforcement for positive behaviors could be motivated with the use of rewards for these children.
How does a parent implement gifts into their relationship with their child?
Give small gifts throughout the month. Have rewards your child is working toward. Make their favorite treat. Order something to be delivered for your child. Celebrate special moments and ordinary moments with small gifts.
5. Quality Time
These children enjoy doing things with you. They may ask you a million times a day to come play with them, if you can read them a book, or just to sit in your lap. Making sure that the distractions such as your phone are tucked away for quality time slots can boost that feeling of love for these children.
How does a parent implement quality time into their relationship with their child?
Schedule special time together. Put away the electronics and allow for no distraction time together. Ask about their day and really listen. Make eye contact when having a conversation. Read together. Cook together. Have a morning or a bedtime routine that promotes quality time.
It is important to understand your child’s love language to connect with them in a way that allows them to feel loved. It is important to speak to our child’s love language so they can confidently go forward in their education and social interactions where they need to succeed.
To find out more about your child’s love language read The Five Love Languages of Children by Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Ross Campbell.