According to Dr. Edward Hallowell, CONNECTION, the other Vitamin C, is a core ingredient when raising a child with ADHD. A connected relationship can last a lifetime. Since our relationships with our children are some of the most important relationships we will ever have, why not take the time now to deepen that connection. One way to do that is to understand your child’s love language.
When parents learn to express their love, which is our most basic emotional need, in a “language” that makes sense to their children, the emotional climate of family life can be greatly enhanced. Understanding your child’s “love language” is the key to the most foundational building block of the parent-child relationship – LOVE.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of The Five Love Languages. Chapman’s idea is simple. When your love language is understood and you receive love from others in this way, your ‘love tank’ can fill up. For example: If your love language is words of encouragement and you feel acknowledged for your efforts, you probably will feel pretty good. On the other hand, if you do not feel acknowledged for your efforts, you may feel grumpy, irritable, and moody. If a child or teen does not feel acknowledged, they will likely misbehave. By understanding and meeting your child’s emotional needs, you will “fill-up” their “love tank.”
Here are the five ways you can express emotional love to your child and teen:
1. WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT*
Say, “I love you” to your child daily.
*Recognize improvement and effort, not just the finished product. Share compliments at the dinner table and at family meetings. Notice the positive things your child does daily.
2. PHYSICAL TOUCH
Hug your child every day!
3. QUALITY TIME
Giving your child undivided attention is a powerful communicator of emotional love. This is the most difficult as it takes more time! Carve out time to give your child focused one-on-one attention. Schedule a ‘date’ with your child and do something fun.
4. ACTS OF SERVICE:
Service that is freely given – not as a duty – but given with an attitude of genuine generosity. You are modeling for your children how to selflessly do for others.
The gift is meaningful to your child, something they may already collect or treasure. Consider your child’s interests. This is not about materialism.
How do you determine your child’s primary love language? Focus on one love language a week and see what you notice. Your children will definitely benefit from all five, but in my experience, you will see a visceral change in your child’s demeanor when you find that special one. I had one parent tell me that their daughter “lit up like a little glitter bug” when they discovered her primary love language!
In today’s busy world, connecting with our children needs to be intentional. By using this simple tool, you can discover the secret door to child’s heart and a lifetime supply of Vitamin C!