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The 5 Love Languages and Your Parenting Style

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As a family life and child development expert, JP has devoted years in nurturing students and strengthening family relations.

What is your child's love language?

What is your child's love language?

How do you show your love for your child? Unfortunately, the love language of your child may not be the same as yours. As such, your child doesn’t perceive you as an affectionate parent. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. According to Dr. Chapman, author of the book 5 Love Languages, we express our love in 5 ways: affirming words, the quality time we spend with someone, our physical connection with another, acts of service and receiving/providing gifts. However, each person tends to favor one of these love languages. Moreover, it is when our love language isn’t met that we feel “less loved”. This brings us to an important question: are we using the right love language with our child?

Your love languages may not be the same as that of your child. As such, our child may not interpret our actions as one that is caring or loving even if we do. It is therefore important to understand the love language of our children. And when we do, we can choose the appropriate parenting style.

Talk to your child and say something nice.

Talk to your child and say something nice.

Words of Affirmation and Your Parenting Style

One student of mine ran up to me crying and it was no fake cry. She was sobbing and was barely able to breathe. When I was able to calm her down, I started to inquire why she felt terrible at the start of the day. It turned out her mom drove off without saying goodbye nor saying I love you. The other students were quite surprised at her emotional outburst but I had an inkling why she was like this. There were times when simply praising her made her day while there were days when her classmates said upsetting words at her and made her emotional.

Affirming words is one love language that is truly powerful. And for individuals who prefer this love language, hearing affirmations can motivate and energize. If your child shows a preference to this love language, here are strategies to show your affection

How to use this love language:

  • Say “I love you” - Your child will always appreciate these powerful words. Don’t be stingy with saying these words.
  • Learn to say “Sorry” - Parents are never perfect and there are moments when our actions are less than ideal. Apologizing and admitting you made a mistake will help mend and strengthen tenuous ties.
  • Praise your child often - Take notice of his/her achievements and acknowledge the achievements
  • Write notes and letter - Words are not just spoken, we can write them and our kids will appreciate it. You can slip notes of encouragement, a cute love note or just a praise into his/her lunch box. Or, you can hide these notes in drawers or places where your child often goes or use.
  • Talk to your child - A short and simple conversation can show how much you care for your child. And when you do talk, focus on the child instead of ranting how difficult your day was or how tiresome it is to pick up their mess.

What parents should avoid:

  • Avoid words of discouragement as it intensifies the problem than help solve it. Choose your words carefully.
  • Saying you “don’t care” - There are times when our apathy can plunge like a knife into our child’s emotions.
  • Cursing and cussing at your child - Instead, use words that are productive and encouraging. Cussing and cursing are never useful.
  • Never saying “I love you” - When you love someone, you tell them. It’s that simple. Whether your child is a toddler or an adult, you never stop professing your love for your child.

As a parent, whether your child’s love language is words of affirmation or not, tell them you love them constantly. Exhaust all means to show you care and that you will be there for them. Children will love the assurance that they are not alone and that they are loved.

Spend quality time with your children.

Spend quality time with your children.

Quality Time and Your Parenting Style

It’s quite amazing how the games my daughter and I played changed through the years. When she was a toddler, she enjoyed jumping on my back. A few years later we’d grapple on the bed, on the floor and practically any place where she’d try to do an arm bar on me. When she learned to ride a bike, we’d ride together. Now, when she asks me to play with her, we’d log in to our Roblox account and run around a digital world. There were times when we were kilometers away from each other but we still took the time to hang out together even in a digital world.

The time spent with my daughter is never wasted time. We cultivate love with each moment together. As parents, we need to spend time with our children. Quality time with your child is never measured in minutes. Rather, it’s the connections you build and strengthen no matter how fleeting it may be.

How to use this love language:

  • Set a time each day to be with your child
  • When you’re away for a long period, take the time to call or video chat
  • Surprise your child with time together
  • Focus on your child when you spend time with him/her
  • Check up on your child from time to time and just learn how they are doing
  • Have a special day just for your child - you can cook together, play together, draw or paint together
  • If you must go away, assure the child that you will be back

What parents should avoid:

  • Never let a day pass without being with your child
  • Not focusing on your child even when you are together
  • Leaving the child alone for extended periods
  • Suddenly leaving without saying goodbye

Our time is a resource that will never be replenished. As such, we utilize whatever time we have in matters that are important to us. If your child is important to you, spend time together.

Hugs are a perfect ways to show you care.

Hugs are a perfect ways to show you care.

Physical Touch and Your Parenting Style

Children love hugs but some need it more than others. A certain group of individuals put value in touch and physical connection and these are the people who prefer the touch love language. These are individuals whom a hug can mean more than an expensive gift. On the other hand, depriving your child of physical contact and closeness is utterly devastating to them.

How to use this love language:

  • Hug your child. This may seem simple but it does a lot for your child’s emotional well-being
  • Brushing and combing your child’s hair is more than just grooming for them, it’s love
  • Play games where you need to touch or be in close proximity with your child
  • Patting your child to sleep works - at least for my daughter when she was younger

What parents should avoid:

  • Spanking your child is never a good choice in disciplining them
  • Not hugging or kissing your child especially after long periods of not being together
  • Not letting your child go close to you

I remember waking up around 4 in the morning to screams of a 3 year old accompanied with her jumping on my stomach. Everyday was the same, except for what type of fierce animal she was. It was an early morning bonding for us. I miss waking up to the roar of toddler pretending to be a lion. Cherish those moments when you can still hold and hug your child. Soon, they may not be so willing to give you a hug in public.

Do something special for your child.

Do something special for your child.

Acts Of Service and Your Parenting Style

Actions that go beyond what they expect is seen as love and caring. But how does that translate to showing your love for your kids? Well, think about ways to lighten their load. Also, think about gestures that they will surely like. Moreover, do these acts of service spontaneously and that is more special. I remember the smile on my daughter’s face when we went out one weekend and she decided where to go. There was also another time when she decided what movie we will watch and what food we will have.

How to use this love language:

  • Help them with a chore that you assigned
  • Give them a pass on their chores for the day
  • Take extra time helping them out with their home works or school work
  • Serve them breakfast in bed
  • Prepare their favorite dessert
  • Let them decide where to go on a weekend trip (of course within budget)

What parents should avoid:

  • Treating your child like a slave
  • Giving chores and tasks beyond their capabilities
  • Acting like your child does not exist
  • Unfair treatment of siblings
Give your child gifts that they love.

Give your child gifts that they love.

Receiving Gifts and Your Parenting Style

For a child, receiving gifts is fun. This becomes doubly special when your child’s love language is receiving gifts. This type of love is fairly straightforward - kids love gifts. Don’t think that you are “buying” your child’s love through gifts. Rather, your child responds positively in the tangible expression of love. But how can you truly show how much you love your child through giving gifts? Here are some suggestions.

How to use this love language:

  • Surprise your child with something that he/she really wants
  • Leave little tokens of appreciation for your child to find
  • Give your child gifts that you yourself made
  • Go out with your child and allow them to choose a gift to buy

What parents should avoid:

  • Promising to buy the child a certain gift and not doing so
  • Purposely destroying a gift you gave as a punishment
  • Giving a gift you promised to someone else - and letting the child see you do it


Our love language may differ from our child. How we show it may differ from what they perceive as love. So, avoid hasty generalization about not being appreciated. Furthermore, your child may prefer more than one type of love language. As such, know how they respond to different expressions of love. Lastly, keep in mind that when you offer the child’s love language they will appreciate and feel the love even more. However, when you withhold this love language it will seem to be the most cruel of all punishment for the child. Thus, our behaviors whether intentional or otherwise, affects our relationship with our children.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 JP Carlos

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