NLP Parents Know Their Child
Every night before my son goes to bed there is one thing he MUST have. That is "mommy lap time". This specifically is when he hops on my lap, nuzzles his head in my neck, and gives me a koala bear hug. He's been that way for as long as I can remember... and he will tell you that he cannot go to sleep without his hug and kiss from Mommy. My son's love language is physical touch. In NLP (neurolinguistic programming) we call that primary kinesthetic in communication.Knowing a child's love language can greatly enhance a parent-child relationship and strengthen the bond between the two. When I speak of love language, I'm referring to the way a person expresses and receives love and affection. In Dr. Gary Chapman in his book "The 5 Love Languages of Children," defines 5 love languages: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, and Gift Giving. Understanding a child's love language can help us as parents to show love and support in a way that is meaningful to their child. Here is a breakdown of them.
Physical Touch: Children who have physical touch as their love language love physical affection such as hugs, cuddles, and hand-holding. They tend to be more affectionate and enjoy physical contact. When they accomplish something or meet a goal, high fives, hugs, and pats on the back help them know they are appreciated and loved more than words (although words still matter). When they get upset, they may want to be held to help them to process their emotions. They may also be very fidgety and like to move around a lot.
Words of Affirmation: Children who have words of affirmation as their love language respond well to words of encouragement, acknowledgment, explanation, and positive reinforcement. For these children, talking is more important than affection. They may want to know "why" and want to hear the "I love you's" and "great work" acknowledgments often. Show verbal appreciation and gratitude when they do something well. If they are upset, verbally acknowledge how they are feeling.
Quality Time: Children who have quality time as their love language thrive on one-on-one time spent together and feel loved when they have the undivided attention of their caretaker. For my son, quality time is also very important. For this child, playing with them, doing an activity, or just sitting together and watching movie matters. They love engaging in meaningful conversation. When they are upset, being around their loved ones helps them to feel better. For them as long as they feel like you are giving them some quality time on a regular basis, they are happy.
Acts of Service: Children who have acts of service as their love language appreciate when you do things for them like fix a toy, build something for them, and make them their favorite breakfast. It's not that these children won't do for themselves, they just have an appreciation for action as a show of love. Similarly, they show love in a similar way. A child like this will want to help you with chores, fix things with you, and go with you to wash the car. When they are upset, doing things like making them some chicken soup or their favorite meal or getting their favorite stuffy or book means a lot.
Gifts: Children who have gifts as their love language feel loved when they receive gifts, no matter how small or inexpensive. Giving them a card, or passing something meaningful down to them is just as good as buying them a brand-new toy. When they are upset, little gifts like trinkets remind them of how important they work well. They will also be the children that will bring and make you gifs so be mindful to acknowledge their gifts with love as well.
While these 5 love languages exist individually, they do not exist in isolation. Oftentimes, a child will have multiple love languages, or their love language may change as they grow and develop. One way to determine a child's love language is to both observe their behavior and responses and pay attention to what makes them feel loved and appreciated. Another way is to simply ask them, "what makes you feel loved?"
Understanding a child's love language can go a long way in improving your relationship with your children, and creating stronger emotional bonds. It can also help them understand themselves and teach them empathy by showing them how to understand and show love to others in the long run. Furthermore, we must understand our own love languages in order to begin to recognize those of our children and loved ones.
What is your love language?
What are (or do you suspect) your children's love languages? We'd love to
hear from you.
This is one of the foundations of emotional intelligence and emotional fluency. In my NLP training, we have deep-dive discussions about how we expand our listening and capacity to understand our emotions, and where they come from, and recognize and acknowledge the emotions of others in order to be better leaders, parents, educators, and healers. Learning neurolinguistic programming gives us access to expanding our emotional intelligence so we can break old harmful cycles and create new conversations of healing and equity for the next generation of leaders.
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