Speaking Love to Your Child in a Way they Understand

What does love look like to your child? Great advice for parents! #love #child #parenting #mother #motherhood

Speaking Love to Your Child in a Way They Understand

by Ailie Baumann

As a mom of three children, I never get used to the reality that each of them is so different from the other. I think that’s one of the things I love about God. He created us in his image to reflect his desires, yet he kept us unique with our own personality quirks and joys. We interpret life and love differently.

To my oldest son, love is best communicated through quality time whereas my middle son loves to be snuggled or have things done for him, and my baby….he is still getting there. Our children experience love in a unique way with their preferences and personalities often acting as filters on how they receive and interpret love.

Added to this is our personal view of what love looks like. To me, love is quality time and being touched. I also love to get messages from my friends and family to let me know how their day went and that they are thinking of me. I don’t perceive correction as loving or angry outbursts for that matter (I’m so guilty of my own angry outbursts).
My pastor often says “love looks like something”. This short saying often rings through my mind. When I want to love my children or the new person in my church community, I find myself thinking what does love look like to them? What can I do that will be love to them?

As a mom, I apply these same questions to my children. There have been several times when my children have been acting bizarre as if they were abducted by aliens and replaced by a stranger to drive me batty. I fall into the trap of rants and raves or frustrated sighs of exasperation. Before long, I hear the Holy Spirit, gently whispering “are you really listening to your child? What does your child need? How are you communicating love?”

What is the message my child keeps saying?

About a year or so ago, my eldest son transformed one week into an absolute stranger as far as his behavior was concerned. Both us and his school teacher were baffled at what to do. His behavior was out-of-character as he instigated with his peers and defied us at home. I didn’t know what to do. With the Lord’s help, I began to think of what He was trying to tell me. What was that common phrase he kept saying?

In this particular scenario, my child was convinced he was bigger than what he actually was regarding his capabilities. He kept wanting to show off how big he was. Ah….this was his message: Mommy, I am a big boy now. I can do a lot more than you are letting me.

My husband and I began to give our son new tasks to do around the house to help us. I began to affirm his big boyness while putting in gentle boundaries. The next week, we had our boy back, much to my relief.

What is my child’s need?

Meet your children's needs to build a deep bond! #wisdom #mothers #parents #kids #children #advice

If you were to talk to a psychologist, counselor or life coach, most of them will probably agree that our behavior is driven by needs. These needs will determine either positive or negative behavior. Our children don’t always have the vocabulary to express their needs to us or perhaps they aren’t sure how to tell us what they need. This is especially true for younger children and toddlers who are in the learning phases of understanding themselves and their feelings.

Identifying your child’s need will help you tailor your response in a way that communicates I see you, I hear you, and I am with you. For example, my two-year-old loves to help to the point of being too helpful. His need is to be included in just about everything. To meet this need, I can give him sugar snap peas to pop out the shell, or plastic Tupperware to pack away.

Do I know my child’s love language?

Personally, I am a firm believer in The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and often apply it to my relationships especially within my little family. Some people hold the view that you can’t define your child’s love language from as little as 18months old. I disagree. Of course, it may change a bit, but in general, their dominant love language stays the same.
If your child is regularly wanting to be touched, picked up, tickled, cuddled, etc., they probably have physical touch as their love language.

A child who regularly wants to do things with you and doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of playing by themselves or personal space most likely speaks quality time for their love language. This may also be why they seek your help often in their chores. It’s a clever way of spending time with you.
A child whose face lights up or tells you how happy they are to get a surprise or gift is probably speaking in the love language of gifts. For this child, it doesn’t matter the gift so much as that you thought of them while you were out or they were away from home.

The child who regularly looks for affirmation or tells you how wonderful you are is probably speaking the love language of affirmation. For this child, harsh words cut their heart into a million pieces. If spoken to with affirming words, this child will open up and blossom before your eyes.

Finally, the child who constantly is helping around the house and who gets upset with not much assistance in completing tasks, more than likely feels loved when you do things for them. For this child, making their breakfast or bed makes their day.Do you love your child in a way they understand? Using love languages to communicate better! #wisdom #mothers #children #sons #kids

Are we in a stressful season?

The last thing I assess is the season we, as a family, are going through. Our children are quite sensitive to our stress and the spiritual atmospheres. As such, the fastest way they can communicate this to us is through their behavior.
At this point, I begin to convene with God for strategies and ideas to reduce stress in the home. I also ask God to show me how to pray over my children and into the spiritual atmospheres that they are discerning. Usually, I pray for protection and peace over them while doing the spiritual warfare and intercession privately.

Run to God for Wisdom and Strength

Being a mom is not for the faint of heart. In fact, mothering has this beautiful way of sending us running into the arms of the Father. We run to him for wisdom, strength, grace, love and more. When we are filled with God’s love for us, we are able to extend it to our children and husbands. What we often forget is that our outpouring of love into our children sets them up for a beautiful relationship with God. God uses us as moms to illustrate to our children his heart and character to them.
Momma, you are doing a great job. Your work is not in vain. In those tough times, God extends much grace to you. He pulls you into an embrace where you can hear his heartbeat. He quietens your heart with his love and steadies you with his peace.


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Ailie Baumann

Hi there, I’m a passionate lover of Jesus, wife, mom of three boys, and author of Pen Paper Paint. I love to share my life and love for Jesus with others in the hopes of inspiring them towards a deeper relationship with him. I want to share the realities that Jesus is intricately involved in our everyday life. I love chocolate, drawing, music, and sushi. My goal in life is to love others wholeheartedly.

For more on relationships from Ailie, see “Love is Messy and Forgiveness Keeps You Going“.


 

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27 thoughts on “Speaking Love to Your Child in a Way they Understand

  1. Anne | onedeterminedlife

    I love quality time and so do my children. So, I make sure to spend one on one time with my kids each day. It also means letting my kids climb all over me and reading them lots of books.

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      Anne, thank you so much for leaving your comment! I appreciate it and I am happy that Ailie does as well.

      Reply

  2. Rebekah

    I love this!! My husband and I were just talking today about what disciplines get through to each of our children, because just as we need to know our children’s love language we also need to know how we can best correct them.
    As we were talking I realized that I haven’t been showing my oldest love in his love languages which are physical touch, words of affirmation, AND quality time. That talk plus this post has encouraged me to look at our schedule and figure out a time that I can fill up my son’s love tank, so that he feels loved and so that he also responds to his father and I in a more respectful manner.

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed my post, Rebekah. It sounds like you are very in touch with your children. 🙂 I’ve found it as well with my boys that the moment you fill their love tank, the behavior changes within the blink of an eye.

      I love that God’s grace still abounds even when we get caught up and forget about loving our children the way they fully understand. It makes parenting easier. I hope you have a lot of fun with your child and that your times together are deep and impacting for your whole family.

      Reply

  3. Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins

    Awesome post! I also love The 5 Love Languages and have noticed that each of my kids respond better to different things. It’s frustrating at times, but like you, I’m also grateful that God gave each of them different personalities. It sure makes life interesting! 😉

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Your post is making me smile Shani. Thank you for your comment.

      I agree the frustration levels can be quite high at times ha ha ha ha ha. Although, I have find that as a mom, its as though I have three little mirrors reflecting different parts of my character back at me. :-)I do love their uniqueness though.

      Reply

  4. Luisa p

    Great post and reminder!! I’m reminded daily on how different each child is and how each child responds. My oldest is Autistic and my second is very strong willed. Two opposite ends of the spectrum. You offered things I don’t always consider or in the craziness of life you forget. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Wow Luisa, that can’t always be easy for you. I take my hat off to you your children are definitely opposites. My eldest and middle child are very opposite and then my baby is sort of the balance between the two. I’m still trying to figure out what strong-willed really means lol. My boys are strong-willed in different ways. LOL

      I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and that it was helpful. 🙂

      Reply

  5. Marie

    It’s amazing how very different our children can be. We do have to work hard at making sure we love them the best way and treat them they way they need to be treated as individuals and not compare them.

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Marie, that is so true. I find that in trying my best, I also need to extend grace towards myself because I am still learning their way of receiving love.

      Reply

  6. Mary Barham

    I love the five love languages…. I have never even thought about my own kids. You have given me a lot to consider!! Great post!

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Glad you enjoyed it Mary. There is a 5 love language book for children too although I’ve only read the original love language book.

      Reply

  7. Shane Prather

    I’m not yet a mama myself but I honestly hadn’t thought of speaking the love language beyond a romantic relationship. Interesting food for thought!

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Glad you enjoyed it Shane. You can always practice the principles with friends and family and see what happens 😉 I think you are going to make a great mamma when the time comes.

      Reply

    2. Lauren C. Moye

      I know that this is Ailie’s post, but I still wanted to take a moment to thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to see so many positive comments on this great post!

      Reply

  8. Cathy McIntosh

    Ailie this is a great, practical post that provides wisdom we can put into action right this minute. Thanks so much for sharing your heart and your life with all of us.

    Reply

    1. Lauren C. Moye

      I know that this is Ailie’s post, but I still wanted to take a moment to thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to see so many positive comments on this great post!

      Reply

  9. Jen

    Ailie, this was so good. Thank you for sharing the love language portion. I agree, each of my 2 children are so different, and I want to make sure I’m giving them what they need as individuals. I’m really have to get that book. Thank you again for sharing this, what a great read.

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Pleasure Jen. Thanks for reading. If you are interested you can also get the 5 love languages for children book. I haven’t read it because I found the original was sufficient.

      Reply

    2. Lauren C. Moye

      I know that this is Ailie’s post, but I still wanted to take a moment to thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to see so many positive comments on this great post!

      Reply

  10. Susan

    I REALLY enjoyed this, thank you!!

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      Thanks Susan. I appreciate your time reading and commenting 🙂

      Reply

    2. Lauren C. Moye

      I know that this is Ailie’s post, but I still wanted to take a moment to thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to see so many positive comments on this great post!

      Reply

  11. Dishes, Laundry, and Love

    This is such a great post. I really believe that people feel love in different ways, but I often forget this when dealing with people in my own life. My husband and I have different love languages and I really need to take this post to heart. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    1. Ailie

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Reply

    2. Lauren C. Moye

      I know that this is Ailie’s post, but I still wanted to take a moment to thank you for your comment. I am thrilled to see so many positive comments on this great post!

      Reply

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