This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!
Monday, October 13, 2008
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Quality time! That's the 5th Love Language I couldn't remember! It's a big one and Hubby's primary.
We've done the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman about 1/2 a dozen times in Sunday school classes. It's a required book for marriage counseling for engaged couples for some churches (a really good idea by the way!). I highly recommend it. I thought I'd give y'all a quick summary.
Basically everyone has a primary love language. This is how you know people love you. You can tell someone you love them until you are blue in the face, but if their love language is physical touch and you rarely touch them - they will not believe you love them!! This is especially important with children in my opinion, but in all relationships knowing their love language (and your own) keeps you from getting frustrated and relationships from ending miserably. It's not totally obvious sometimes what someone's love language is, and some people are "bilingual", but generally here's the highlights.
1. Physical Touch - a big one with guys. This is physical affection (obviously), touches, kisses, hugs...
2. Acts of Service - this is how my Mom expresses love (although it is not her love language). This is doing things (making a meal, knitting a sweater, getting up and getting a drink for someone, mowing the lawn, paying the bills, taking out the trash...
3. Words of Affirmation - this is me and my Mom! This is being told you are doing a good job at something, saying "I love you," little love notes, even wolf whistles...
4. Quality Time - this is spending time together. (This is Bear big time! If you are not spending time with him, listening to him talk then you do not love him!) This doesn't have to be talking, can be just watching TV together, going places together, looking into each other's eyes...
5. Gifts - this is one of the few that Hubby and I do not have at all! It is however one of my Dad's, if not his primary. Not that everyone doesn't like getting gifts, but this person has a special place in their heart for the gift. It is a symbol of that person's love for them. They can tell you where they got it, who gave it to them and under what circumstances. They usually keep it in a special place and take great care of it. Think the Last Doll in The Little Princess movie/book.
Children need ALL FIVE languages and do not have a primary love language until they are early elementary age. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Babies especially need ALL of these things done for them.
There are tests you can take (here's one although it's not a great one - http://www.greaterquest.com/LoveLanguages.asp ), and reading the book(s) really helps, but even then, sometimes it's hard to tell what people's love languages are. Some are obvious, like Bear, others not so much. Sometimes how they express love is a good clue, but that can be altered by experience (for example, my Mom is ACTS OF SERVICE all the time, but her love language is actually Words of Affirmation. I don't know if she was taught to do acts of service - a generational thing, or, more likely, she learned that if she does things for others they are more likely to praise her and give her the words of affirmation that she needs).
There is a 5 love languages book for children as well. They suggest a test if you really can't figure it out of trying by completely removing one of the love languages and seeing if it makes a difference (like not touch the child for a week). I suppose the opposite would be to go crazy with one and see if the kid blooms (that would be my preference - especially while we're still trying to get some of our kids to attach!). My kids would love treats and presents for a week!
Finding out someone's love language is essential! Basically it effects people's self-esteem if no one loves them (and if you're not speaking their language then you "don't love them!"). Also, if your "love tank" is empty then you are unable to give love or really even function well. You need love! Because half my kids are attachment disordered they are not going to fill my love tank. Dealing with them regularly drains it in fact. Because I am the only Words of Affirmation speaker in the house (that I know of!), it is not easy for me to get the words of love that I need to function. I have learned to encourage others to speak in my language (they can be taught!! *grin*) and I have learned to go elsewhere for ways to fill my tank. This is one reason I blog!! I love hearing from others that I'm doing a good job.
I have no idea what Bob and Kitty's languages are. I was thinking of trying the experiment of giving them tons of one language for a week and seeing how that worked. Then I started thinking that with Kitty, emotionally she's still only 4-6 years old, which means she still needs ALL of the love languages. I need to step up ALL the languages for her and see if that helps with some of the behaviors this week.
I also talked to her therapist and I'm trying to get Kitty set up for psychological testing for bipolar disorder. Will let you know how that goes. Speaking of which, I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon to see if I'm going to go back on a mood stabilizer - preferably one that doesn't cause me to gain weight this time. Better get back to work now!
Here's some articles about it too. http://marriage.about.com/cs/communicationkeys/a/lovelanguage.htm