I am the mom of two grown daughters. It’s sad; they’ve grown up. One is a college-grad whom is now married with babies of her own. The other younger one is going to be a sophomore in college. They are both beautiful young ladies if I say so myself.
For Throwback Thursday, I am reminiscing about their childhood, and thanking God they turned out well despite my inapt parenting skills.
This picture pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? You can please your kids some of the time, but you cannot please them all of the time. However, if we can learn to speak their love languages, we may have a better shot!
A few years ago, when my girls were much younger, I read Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. My husband and I quickly identified ours and found that we both respond to Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch, which makes perfect sense because we get along famously.
To find out what your love languages are and to learn more, you can click here.
Click on this printable below to go to it’s creator’s website, BusyKidsHappyMom.org, who wrote a wonderful post about how to speak your child’s love language:
It was later that I realized my elder daughter’s love language is Quality Time. When I would get home every evening she demanded my time. She would never let me work on something else while she was telling me about her day. Even now, if I haven’t seen her in a few days she will let me know she misses me, which is why I try to carve out time to spend with her, even if it is only going to the grocery store together. And she absolutely has to have regular date nights with her husband!
I thought I knew my younger daughter’s love language. She is so much like me that I assumed she and I shared the same love languages. Just recently I realized that I have been wrong all these years, and it has grieved me. She is now 19 years old, and when I look back I can recall several times she was asking for me to show her love, and I denied her.
My younger daughter Kallie’s love language is Acts of Service. This now makes perfect sense.
When she was big enough to be assigned chores, it was not uncommon for her to ask me to help her do them. I thought that was so funny – didn’t she realize that I gave her chores to help me! Not the other way around!!! I would tell her no.
As a teenager and old enough to do a lot of things for herself, she might come to me while I was watching TV for instance and ask if I would fix her a sandwich. Couldn’t she see that I was resting??? I would tell her no.
It was what she did recently that made me realize that Acts of Service is her love language. One Sunday afternoon, she called me to ask if I would bring her some lunch where she worked. I told her no because she worked in the next town. That would’ve taken about 90 or so minutes out of my Sunday afternoon. She should have picked something up on the way into work after church or packed herself a lunch. She was so insulted that I would not do this for her hungry child, while I tried to explain to her that this was an insensitive request on her part. She couldn’t believe that I wouldn’t bring her some food; I couldn’t believe that she expected me to.
A week later, we were having the very same discussion. This is when I realized her love language was Acts of Service. Not because of her request, but because how she reacted to the fact that I would not fulfill her request. Now, I am not saying that because her love language is Acts of Service that I should be at her beck and call, but I should be more aware of when she is expressing her need to feel loved.
Once I realized this, it also explained why there had been a lot of tension between us lately. She receives an allowance from us. I have a long chore list for her to complete every week, plus she is my ministry assistant when I travel, speak, etc. If and when I would remind her to do her chores, she would get so ill with me. She would often indicate that I only cared about the chores she did for me, not her, What she was really saying is that “I am doing all these things for you (which = love), but you are not loving (doing stuff for) me! I think she felt the scales of love were off kilter and she was being robbed emotionally.
When we know our children’s love language, we can begin speaking their love language, so their love tank will be full.
So here is what I’ve changed, and it has made a positive impact on our relationship: I do not do her chores for her because it is to her benefit to have responsibility, but I do try to find other things to do for her weekly. For instance, since I know that she likes tuna fish, I will let her know that I am going to make a batch up for her to snack on throughout the week. I washed her sheets for her the other day, instead of telling her to do it (this is not on her chore list – not sure why though). Even if it is something I would ordinarily do for her, I think pointing it out to her has made her feel more special. Take tonight: Since I did an abbreviated portion of laundry last week due to travel, I did not wash one of her favorite shirts. She had asked me about it earlier this week, and I told her that it did not get washed, but would this next weekend when I typically do my laundry. I could tell she was disappointed. Tonight, my husband informed me that he was out of under shirts so I had to throw some into the wash. AND (you guessed it) I threw in her favorite shirt, too. Now, I am going to text her to say, “FYI – washing your favorite shirt for you tonight!!!”. She will feel so loved! Makes my heart happy!!!
I told my elder daughter about my new discovery, and she, too, has joined in on trying to think of practical things to do for her sister.
From this experience, I think it is so important to discover your children’s love language. All those times Kallie had asked me to do those things for her, I was afraid that she was just being a baby or being a little bit on the lazy side, but she was really just asking for me to express my love for her. Even though I am sad over those times I denied her the emotional support she needed, I am glad I now have figured it out so I can love on her accordingly.
Do you know your kids’ love languages???
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mother and Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. Gina is also a speaker with a B.S. in Organizational Leadership. She is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. Gina also blogs and offers numerous videos and resources at GinaDuke.com. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.
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