Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Five Love Languages Of Children

I read this book a couple of weeks ago, before passing it along to a friend. It was originally given to me by my SIL, for my birthday I think, and it’s taken me several months to get around to it. Frankly, I was expecting a bit of ineffectual drivel and eye-rolling fluff, and it certainly did not initially pass my “who wrote it” test (see below), but I dipped in anyway. Yeah, I did some eye-rolling for the first couple of chapters, but once I got into the meat-and-potatoes of the thing, I found it lent itself to some significant insight into our family and the complexity of our inter-relations.

The gist of this book (and its predecessors, which began for couples) is that in human relations there are five “love languages”; ways of expressing ourselves to another which can create feelings of love in that other person. And, each individual has one “primary” love language. Similar to Stephen R. Covey’s “emotional bank account”, “speaking” to the other person in their love language “fills up” their emotional "tank” and contributes to the relationship.

In a nutshell, the five love languages are:

1. physical touch – thrives on lots of touching and cuddling
2. words of affirmation – likes to hear about how well they’ve done something
3. quality time – needs consistent doses of one-on-one time
4. gifts – loves receiving little treats and gifts
5. acts of service – wants to have small acts of service done for them

Clearly, each person will have a combination of the above love languages, and I happen to come away with the sense that we should not become “one trick ponies” with each of our children (or partner), ONLY speaking to each child (or your partner) in ONLY their primarily love language. But, it was definitely interesting to sit down and think about each member of our family and figure out which were their primarily love languages (yeah, this is the type of stuff I spend considerable time thinking about). Without divulging too much personal information, I can say with a fair amount of certainly that we’ve got the following combinations living under our roof (in no particular order):

Person A: 1-2-4
Person B: 1-5
Person C: 1-3-4-5
Person D: 1-2-3
Person E: 3-5

Interesting dynamic, eh? Can you guess who is who in our family?

And, who is who in your family? Betcha can figure it out in less than five minutes. And, you'll have a few "ah ha's" when you do. Heehee.

The “who wrote it test” goes something like this. If it’s a book wherein the author is giving me advice about the best way to raise my kids, I flip the book over and take a look at the author’s bio. Most of the time, it’s been written by a professional male psychologist who runs off to the university every day to lecture (or the office to practice their psychology on unsuspecting patients), while leaving his wife (or the nanny) at home to raise their single, female child who likes to sit in the corner and read books all day. Sometimes, said female child likes to draw pictures of ponies and rainbows, or sing songs about blue birds, or dress her dolls in pretty outifits, just to mix things up a bit. Not that I have anything against this type of author personally (or their adorable, well-behaved and extremely well-adjusted child), and I don’t mean to impugn said author's professional status, but I seriously doubt how much they will be able to teach me about raising three very active, very curious, very strong-minded, very creative, very hands-on BOYS! ‘Cause, in this house, we’ve got BOYS! Not, a sweet little girl who likes to sit in the corner and read all day.

So, just 'cause I can, here are a few tidbits from the past to remind you of what it's like to live with BOYS! (notice how one BOY in particular keeps showing up consistently?):

What's In A Name (aka, can't call him Angel Bear anymore)
Edison Trait Kids (involves fire...don't try this at home)
DaVinci Cannon
Water Bomb Cannon

And, so I don't feel quite so alone, here's one from my friend and compatriot, KitMamma:
My Realization

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