Bookclub Review: The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively
I’ve had this book among my collection for a long time. It wasn’t until I reached out to my awesome community and asked if anyone wanted to join me in reading it that I finally decided to crack the cover.
What I Learned from the 5 Love Languages of Children
I took away a lot of messages from this book – which becomes obvious to me as I flip through the pages and note how often I marked in the margins. Although I did have a few crititisims which I will mention later –
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Next Month’s Book: There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather
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February Book: The Whole-Brain Child
What I Learned About My Child’s Love Language and How that Influences My Behavior
Even though we all know the optimal words to use when talking to our children, or the children we care for, we are often so overwhelmed with the day and the realities of what is expected of us hour to hour that we are responding to each event in the moment. Or is that just me?
Sometimes I just need the reminder to be cognizant of my behavior, the words I use, the way I hold my body, the intensity of my eyes when I interact with my daughter and this book gave me that.
I try with my whole heart to be careful of my phrasing with questions and responses for children because I know how literally they take every word and how deeply they read into the non-verbal messaging (Tips for teaching Social-Emotional Skills to Children here).
But let’s face it. In a day when you are rushed from the moment you wake up, coffee was spilled before a sip could be enjoyed, everyone is feeling a little bit off and nothing seems to be going as planned, those are the moments when responses and expectations for hurrying along become a little bit more intense, have a little bit more urgency behind them. I gave myself a sigh of relief in the reminder that I’m not alone on this journey and that I won’t be the last to live it. I noted a few great ideas of phrases to keep in my back pocket to use in just those moments, even if I have to write them down to practice them to make them a habit, I think they will be helpful.
My Daughter’s Love Language
Although my daughter just turned 3 and it is recommended to continue to use all the love languages until she turns 6, I can clearly see that Little Bee thrives from Words of Affirmation (complimenting others to make them smile, sharing “I love yous” with friends and family), Quality Time (playing together), and Acts of Service as these are the areas that she is most likely to share with others in an effort to express her own love.
I will continue to use all of the Love Languages for her as she continues to express herself and grow, but will rely more heavily on the ones listed above until they don’t seem to resonate with her as strongly.
It comes down to letting my daughter take the lead in a way that works for her rather than me holding expectations about what love should look like based on my own experience.
The 5 Love Languages of Children Take Away for Holidays and Birthdays
I really love that although Receiving Gifts is one of the Love Languages, it speaks often about how this can be interpreted. Gift giving in itself does not mean sharing in love. Giving a child everything they ask for does not mean sharing in love. This is especially powerful during Christmas or other
I recently wrote a post about how we can give gifts that are not toys (link here) or how to share in creative gifts for children who love art (more on that here) rather than filling up the toy box with more toys related to TV shows – not that there is anything wrong with this, but how many Paw Patrol toys are too many?!
We already live the comparison game – comparing
Gifts can be anything that comes from the heart, that are given with intention and purpose and that
Religion in The 5 Love Languages of Children
I believe strongly in the idea of community, of serving those you wish to support to tbe best of your ability – which is why I do what I do everyday. I believe that taking the time to be grateful can change ones perspective and bring us back to a place of positivity and enrichment and I knew this book would follow these notes along with me.
I wasn’t aware however, for how often religion would be referred to in the text. I think that for some readers this may not resonate, while for others it allows the messages to sink in more fully.
For those who tend not to turn to books that have an aspect of religion or reference to faith, know that it doesn’t impact the message and overall idea of the book and the intention of connecting with our children. But I do think it is worth noting as a common thread through many of the chapters.
for The 5 Love Languages of Children
With no ill harm intended, I found myself cringing from time to time at the language used in this book. I think because I am so heavily invested in the education world of young children I am sensitive to some of the terms and generalizations that can be made.
With such a short text (and quick read I should add) it is hard to go into detail about all the areas discussed. Often the text would say that it couldn’t discuss all the ideas under a general topic as it was outside the scope of the book and that is fair but I do think that often led me to believe that there were some perceptions about non-nuclear family structures, traditional gender roles and for those families who don’t have the ease of giving time (and gifts) in the methods described.
I often thought about single mothers while reading this book, wondering what her perceptions would be, how much more responsibility she feels, how much more her time has to be shared with her children and other life responsibilities and how challenging it can be to overcome that mom guilt. There was a chapter about this at the end but it still didn’t quite cover the topic the way I would have hoped.
But in doing so, I also reminded myself to take each recommendation in the way that it works best for each family structure, to take each message and it would be most meaningful for the members of each family, and to most importantly, reach out to my community to be supportive to others where I can and to ask for help when I need it as well.
This parenting gig can be tricky for everyone no matter of circumstance and I think we should all be helping each other as much as we can.
Overall Thoughts about the 5 Love Languages of Children
This book had a lot of cute ideas about unique ways to connect to your child in a method that most spoke to how he or she perceives your love. I starred and underlined many thoughts that I will most certainly take away with me and apply to how my daughter and I interact.
I did however, feel that this book exemplified the mom guilt that many of us feel when it comes to the way we spend time with our children. I know for me personally, a work from home mom, building a business, consulting, writing, into the wee hours or during evenings and weekends in an effort to make it all fit, I already feel the burden of “not enough”, the pressure of not quite meeting my own expectations. Perhaps it was my own sensitivity here that led me to read into these messages more.
I do feel that I walk away with celebration that I am loving my child in a way that she reads as heart-filled. I take the time to look her in the eye, to share in her joys and to expand her learning and interests as much as I can. There were a lot of moments in the book that also lead me to reevaluate some of my own behaviors, like when she asks me to play but I need to place my attention elsewhere. I think that as a busy mother and entrepreneur, there are lessons for her here about following your dreams, about building a business about seeing something through, but that I can take the time to share these messages in a more intentional way rather than the “in a few minutes” messaging I tend to rely on.
I cannot do it all perfectly. I walk away some days patting myself on the back for the balancing act I completed in a set of 24 hours, while others I stew in the tub on what I should have done, could have done, will do differently if presented with another chance. I know this won’t change. There will be good days, bad days, busy days, slow days and I will feel the pressure of mothering well because it is 2018 (almost 2019!!) and I am bombarded with that message minute by minute through social media and advertising (great post on that here).
My biggest take away from this book is that knowing my daughter (which I feel I do now) will help me speak to her heart more fully, will allow me to connect with her in a meaningful way, will let me celebrate her joys and comfort her sorrows in a method that works for her rather than her trying to understand my own. I’ve taken the time to slow down, to think more fully about the ways I communicate my messages to my daughter with non-verbals (more on that here) and to change my own routine to make my time with her more meaningful.
I’m glad I read this during the Christmas holidays when I had already decided to take a few days off. I could immediately apply some of the things I learned as I read them, and create new habits of interaction. I refuse to fall into the pressure to be perfect. I know that I do the best I can, that I mother with my whole heart and that I am working for a worthy cause that demands much of my time.
I would recommend this book as it is a quick read but will remind you to take away what resonates with you, look for the messages that are meaningful for your family in a way that works for you and to ultimately remember that parenting is hard. It takes a community, something I believe strongly in.
I think it’s worth while reaching out to yours, joining a group that has the same ideas in mind – of parenting with purpose and intention, and to ask for help when you need it.
What are your thoughts on this book? Do you have any other recommendations for us to read? If so, share them below or inside our Facebook Group here.
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