The 5 Love Languages of Children: How to Discover Your Child's Love Language

Rev. Jessica Asbell
Audio Type: 
Children's Podcasts
First Baptist Church Roswell, GA
Contemporary Christian
Transcript of Podcast: 

The 5 Love Languages of Children: How do I figure out my Child’s love language?

What do I do when they get angry?

·         We need to speak all five love languages with children so that we help them learn how to give and care for others

·         Discovering your child’s love language is a process, and it’s more about experimenting with the different love languages than it is following a tried and true formula

·         As your child grows, you will begin to see that one of the love languages speaks far more deeply of your love than the others; also, when that one is used negatively, your child feels very hurt

·         Important to note that primary love languages can temporarily change, especially during adolescence

·         Children go through stages of everything: stages of talking, stages of walking, stages of eating, and even stages where their thinking changes, so it makes sense that they would also go through stages in loving. They experiment in reaching out, and it may seem as if they prefer one language for giving love and one language for receiving it. Even after you think you’ve figured out your child’s love language, it’s important to give them space to change and grow

·         Kids need to learn to give and receive love in all languages, because they will encounter people whose primary love language is different than their own.

·         So how do you figure out your child’s love language?

o   Observe how your child expresses love to you

§  Particularly true for a young child who is likely to express love to you in the language they most want to receive

·         For instance, if your child hugs everybody, then chances are that his or her love language is physical touch. If your child always wants to make you breakfast, then their love language may be acts of service.

§  This method is best use for children who are between 5 and 10 years old

o   Observe how your child expresses love to others

§  For instance, if your 1st grader always wants to take a present to his teacher, this may indicate that his primary love language is receiving gifts

o   Listen to what your child requests most often

§  If they constantly ask you to spend time with them, then your child’s love language may be quality time.

§  If your child constantly asks for comments about his or her work- how did I do during baseball practice, how’d you like my science fair project, what do you think of my paper?- then his or her love language may be words of affirmation

o   Notice what your child frequently complains about

§  Such as “you’re always busy” or “we never go anywhere together”

§  Raise your hand if you’ve ever complained. So now that all of our hands are up, it’s important to remember that every child (and every adult) complains now and then. BUT if the complaints fall into a pattern so that more than half of the complaints focus on one love language, then you need to really pay attention to what those complaints are saying to you. Frequency is the key

o   Give your child a choice between two options

§  Lead your child to make choices between two love languages. For instance: We can go for a walk tonight, or I can help you study. We can either throw the ball around outside or I can take you to buy new shoes.

§  As you give options for several weeks, keep a record of your child’s choices. If most of them tend to cluster around one of the five love languages, then you’ve probably found your child’s love language. Of course, at times your child isn’t going to want to do either option and will instead suggest something else. Keep a record of those requests too.

§  Using choices to discover the love language

·         At 6: would you rather wrestle or read a story together? Would you rather me bring a present or send you a special email while I am out of town?

·         At 10: for your birthday, would you rather have a new bike or go on a trip with me to (insert place)?

·         At 15: would you like to work on the car together, or would you rather I work on it while you spend time with your friends?

§  You probably need to offer twenty to thirty choices before you can see a pattern

o   A 15 Week Experiment

§  Choose one of the five love languages to focus on for two weeks as you express love to your child. For instance, if you pick quality time, seek to give your child at least 30 minutes of your undivided attention. If, by the end of two weeks, your child is begging for freedom, you know you have to look elsewhere. But if you are getting positive comments about how much she enjoys your time together, then you may have found her love language

§  After 2 weeks, take a week OFF, not totally withdrawing, but giving about 1/3 time that you did before. Allows the relationship to move closer to what it was before

§  Then select another love language and focus on it for the next two weeks. For instance, physical touch: promise to give meaningful touches at least 4 times a day

§  Observe your child’s response. If, at the end of two weeks, he’s pulling back and saying “stop touching me”, then you know this isn’t his primary love language

§  The following week, draw back somewhat and notice your child’s response

o   Some things to keep in mind

§  Easy to fall into the trap of using one love language to the exclusion of the others

§  Learning to speak all five love languages will help us learn to nurture people throughout our lives, not only our children, but also family and friends

·         So all of this sounds great, right? But what do you do when your kids aren’t acting very loving? What do you do when you’ve worked hard to put aside any anger you’ve felt in your day only to find that your kids are angry and they’re taking it out on you?

·         Here’s the thing: we get angry at the people we love. In fact, we probably get angrier at the people we love than at anyone else, because we believe that they should know us so well that they always understand exactly what we mean all the time. Or, we believe that we have the right to be angry at them because they’re our family and they have to love us and they will always love us. We all get angry sometimes, including your children. But hopefully, as adults we are better equipped at dealing with our anger. But what about your kids? How do they deal with their anger? The only way your kids will learn how to deal with anger is if you teach them. So how do you help your kids deal with anger? I’m glad you asked…

·         Anger: Helping your Kids deal with it

o   It’s important to remember that not all anger is evil. The ultimate and righteous purpose of anger is to motivate us to set things right and correct evil

o   The primary lifetime threat to your child is his or her own anger: IF YOUR CHILD DOES NOT HANDLE HIS OWN ANGER WELL, IT WILL DAMAGE OR DESTROY HIM.

o   The mishandling of anger is related to every present and future problem your child may have—from poor grades to damaged relationships to possible suicide. It is IMPERATIVE that you do all you can to safeguard your child now and in the future.

o   Before you respond to your children, it’s important to learn how to handle your own anger. Parents who have not learned to control their own anger are not likely to train their children how to do it.

·         Managing Anger Appropriately

o   Train your child to manage anger appropriately and he/she will then be able to develop good character and strong integrity

o   Remember that anger is normal, it’s neither good nor bad. The problem isn’t anger, but the way it is managed. Anger can actually be beneficial if it energizes and motivates us to take action

o   But a lot of times our anger can turn into passive-aggressiveness. We want to hurt the other person without getting into trouble

§  This is an expression of anger that gets back at a person or group indirectly, or “passively.” It is a subconscious determination to do exactly the opposite of what an authority figure wants us to do.

§  Important things to consider about passive aggressive behavior:

·         It doesn’t make sense

·         You can suspect it when nothing you do to correct your child’s behavior works. Because the purpose of passive aggressive behavior is to upset the authority figure, no matter the action that authority figure takes, it won’t make a difference

·         Although the purpose of this behavior is to frustrate authority figures, it ultimately most affects the person who is acting in that way

o   Passive-Aggressive Behavior during the Early Teen Years

§  Only one period of life when passive-aggressive behavior is normal: early adolescence, when a child is 13 to 15 years old. It’s normal only insofar as it doesn’t harm anyone- so if you are at your wit’s end about passive-aggressive behavior suddenly coming from your 13 year old, it is in fact, normal. It’s not fun, but it is normal.

§  It’s essential that he/she learns how to handle anger in a mature fashion and grows out of the passive-aggressive stage

§  REMEMBER: your objective is to train them to manage their anger by the time they are 17 years old. They can’t leave the passive-aggressive stage unless they learn other, more mature and acceptable ways to replace the behavior

§  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all anger is wrong and should be disciplined out of your child, because this doesn’t train them to handle their anger in constructive ways.


§  Begin Early

·         Don’t wait until the teen years to teach them about anger management

·         Have to begin when they are very young, although don’t expect them to be able to handle anger with any level of maturity until the age of 6 or 7

·         Children are limited in how they can express anger

o   Verbal expression

o   Behavioral expression

·         Their anger HAS TO COME OUT SOME WAY

·         It is actually better for your child to express anger verbally rather than behaviorally. When your child vents anger in words, you are able to help train them to manage their anger

·         Until the age of 6 or 7, you are just working to keep passive-aggressive behavior from taking root in your child. You do this by keeping their emotional tanks full

o   Realize that your children can’t defend themselves against parental anger- when you dump your anger on your child, it goes right down inside them. If you do this often enough, this bottled anger will probably come out as passive-aggressive behavior. List to her calmly; let her express her anger verbally. It won’t be pleasant, but it’s better than her acting it out.

·         Teaching children to deal with their anger is a long process, so you have to be patient and wait until you feel like your child is ready to take the next step

·         As long as the anger is inside your child, it controls the house. But once it’s outside, your child can regain control. Once they get all their anger out verbally, they can ask “now what do I do?” and then you’re in a great place to teach them

§  Letting Your Child Show Anger

·         When your child speaks in anger, it doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is being disrespectful. To determine whether your child is respectful, ask yourself “what is my child’s attitude to my authority most of the time?” Most children are respectful over 90% of the time. If this is true of your child and now he/she is bringing verbal anger to you about a particular situation, this is EXACTLY what you want to happen. Once your child has gotten those feelings out, you’re in a great position to train them. Be sure to control yourself as your child expresses his/her anger verbally. Always remain kind but firm, even when you want to yell.

§  Seize the Moment

·         After an angry outburst, seize the moment to help your child learn to handle her anger. As soon as things are stable, sit down together and do 3 things:

o   Let your child know that you aren’t going to condemn them- you always want to know how they’re feeling, whether happy, sad, or angry

o   Commend your child for the things he/she did right. Anytime a child brings verbal anger to you, he/she has done some right things and avoided some wrong ones

o   Help your child take a step up the anger ladder- moving towards a more positive response. Try to give your child a request rather than a prohibition. Say something like “from now on, please don’t call me that name”, instead of yelling at them. Each time they get angry, you can work towards moving them to a more positive response. So if your child has a problem with hitting, yelling, and throwing things when they are angry, work on one at a time. Say something like “from now on, please don’t throw anything when you are angry. You don’t like it when your stuff gets broken and I don’t like it either.” After they are mature enough to take that step, then you can work on not hitting, and eventually not yelling, until their response to anger is positive.

o   This isn’t an easy process and it won’t happen overnight. It is long and difficult, but when you’ve don’t it enough times, your child will begin to do the right thing without your reminder.

§  Love And Anger

·         The most crucial element in training your children to manage their anger is your unconditional love for them

·         Love is looking out for another person’s interests and seeking to meet their needs

·         Processing anger and then training your child to deal with it in a mature way is one of the hardest parts of parenting. BUT the rewards are great. Speak your child’s love language, keep his/her love tank filled, and watch him/her develop into a loving and responsible adult who knows how to process anger and helps other people do the same. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we want for our kids?

o   Thanks for listening. I hope these podcasts have given you some ideas as to what your primary love language is, what your child’s primary love language is, and how you can speak their primary love language. Thanks!