Sunday, April 01, 2012

the 5 love languages of children

The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell. This is the February 2012, "new look, refreshed content" version of the book they sent me to review and for sure it's a keeper I'll reread and refer to in the future. More than one million sold of previous editions!

5 love languages website

Dr Gary Chapman on twitter

5 love languages of children Like spoken ways of communicating such as Tagalog, Japanese or Russian - though not considering specific regional accents or dialects - love between human parents and children as well as partners and friends has five basic expressions: physical touch; words of affirmation; quality time; gifts; acts of service. What is it about love? Unconditional love provides safety, security, and emotional well-being to a child or to anyone, making them feel loved. Knowing the different love languages people in our lives speak makes relationships easier and helps make those we relate to healthier, more functional and happier members of society, family and world. According to authors Chapman and Campbell, "...a child's need for love is basic to all other needs. Receiving love and learning to give love is the soil out of which all positive endeavors grow." [page 24] I love the metaphor of keeping a person's love tank full, and in order to feel loved, a person needs to be "spoken" to in the language of love they understand best--that particular love language is their "show me!"

Unconditional love is not a payback or a bribe and it's interesting to know one can't figure out the primary love language of a child under 5 years old. Also, they're not cast in concrete or set in stone, so be aware your own, your spouses, friend's or child's primary love language may shift and even change with time.

This book is from the relatively conservative Christian pub house Moody and though it references scripture, the authors incorporate it subtly and well and I cannot imagine any of it offending anyone who interprets the bible from almost any theological perspective. On page 54, after referencing the Ten Commandments and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the authors explain "the supreme law is the law of love." Scriptural mandates us first to love God and then to love neighbor and self... Amen! In Greek, charis is the root of grace and of gift.

There is a separate chapter for each love language or style with an activity list at the end of each of those five chapters. Practical chapters on discovering your child's primary love language (this would work for anyone you're in ongoing relationship with), discipline, learning, anger, single parent families and marriage related to the five love languages follow. A hopeful epilogue reassures us "what might be is still ahead" and outlines possible ways of tearing down walls poor parenting and negative relationships have built in order to build bridges to new ways of being, healthy ways of loving. Throughout the book the authors scatter brief, highly accessible case study examples of parents and their children. I loved hearing again about Susanna Wesley carefully nurturing all ten of her kids! Those of us in the church are well aware of her well-known preacher sons Samuel, Charles and John, but I hadn't known about her daughter Emilia.

The 5 Love Languages of Children is comfortable to hold, clearly typeset in an easy to read serif font, with pullquotes in the margins of many pages highlighting particular concepts. Section headings within each chapter help the reader concentrate on what's next and it's written in very basic English, I'd guess possibly 8th grade level or less, but not "dumbed down" in the least.

PS What a terrific resource for helping anyone tease out families members' and their own basic language of receiving love, though needless to say, everyone also needs to be loved in the remaining four languages. I took the 20 questions quiz at the end of the book to determine my own love language. My results were words of affirmation (8) and quality time (7). I know how much I need and appreciate hugs, how sometimes I crave and always save gifts of all kinds, but that result definitely rings true.

my amazon review: a fabulous, practical resource

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