How to Love Your Child the Way They Need

How to Love Your Child the Way They Need

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When parents are asked, “Do you love your child?” they will most probably say “Yes! Of course”. When they are asked, however, to write 10 different acts they do that show to their kids they love them, most parents may feel puzzled, and only a few would be able to answer that without any hesitation.

We’re faced with the fact that love is a verb not a noun, but how can we truly treat our kids accordingly? Most of us parents think that because we look after their needs for food, cleanliness, clothing, etc. then it is assumed they know we love them. It’s true that our kids need to be taken care of physically, intellectually or spiritually.  It is also true that a great percentage of parents spend most of their time focusing on these aspects while forgetting about the emotional needs of their children. Quite a few psychologists agree on the fact that when a child is emotionally neglected, they’re impaired as much as a child whose physical needs weren’t met.  In fact, a few claim that ignoring a child emotionally can cause the same chemical reaction in the brain as experiencing physical injury.

How can we love them the way they need to be loved?
Our kids need unconditional love to fill their emotional tanks. This means loving them for who they are, not for what they do. This love is given to our children while expecting nothing in return.

More specifically, love can be spoken and understood in five different languages, according to Dr. Gary Chapman. In his book, The Five Love Languages of Children, he explains this concept in a very unique way, claiming that each one of us has a primary love language that speaks the loudest, but we need all five so that our emotional tanks are truly full.

What are the five languages?
The five different love languages are:

  1.  Physical Touch: The ones who understand love the best by patting them, massaging their necks, giving them a hug, hi-5, etc.
  2. Words of Affirmation: This refers to the ones who are very verbal and are effected gravely by the words they hear. They need praising, encouraging and loving words the most.
  3. Quality Time: This type needs periods of undivided, uninterrupted attention given by and to the one we love. It doesn’t matter what activity is done together as much as us the act of togetherness itself.
  4. Receiving Gifts: This refers to gifts that are given to them for no reason other than expressing love. They didn’t do anything to earn and are not tied to any reason such as a special event, a birthday or good grades. It can be a small but thoughtful gesture that will create this effect.
  5. Acts of Service: These acts require we give a helping hand. We serve to help with the child’s interest, not necessarily to please or spoil them.

Dr. Chapman further explains that love is a language like any other; we need to learn to give and receive all five of them for a better communication of love and to fill our love cups. If you’re not convinced by this method of a complete love to better communicate and create harmony in your relationship with your child, Dr. Chapman also insists that love is the foundation for discipline. By ensuring our children are completely loved we’ll then have a more balanced relationship of respect with them to guide them through their ups and downs and be the authority figure they can love, look up to, and listen to.

Noha Abu Sitta is a certified Health Coach for children up to 12 years of age, by the Dr. William Sears Wellness Center. She is also a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator by Dr. Jane Nelson and Dr. Lynn Lott. Noha regularly conducts parenting, health and nutrition courses covering a variety of topics. She also makes regular appearances on TV programs to dispense her expert advice. You can connect with Noha at City Clinic Gezira Plaza, Sheikh Zayed for health and parenting coaching.

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