The five love languages

Love takes many forms. In his book The Five Love Languages Gary Chapman talks about five different ways (or languages) people show their love for others and feel loved. We’ve all got our preferred ‘language’ and this preference becomes more obvious with age.

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Kids need love shown to them each of the five love languages but figuring out their primary love language will help you show them love most effectively. Before you work out your child’s love language, it helps if you can work out your own. Check out the list below. If you could only have love shown to you one way, which would you choose?

Words of encouragement

It’s very significant to hear others notice and comment on something you’ve done or said. “Thanks for helping”, “We couldn’t do it without you.” The words in notes and cards are important to you.

Gift giving

You love being given a gift that tells you the giver has thought carefully about what you like and what is important to you. When you buy gifts you think long and hard about the person and what they would really like

Acts of service

You feel loved when someone does a job for you so you can have a break, or maybe makes you a hot drink, a cake or does something that costs them something.

Quality time and attention

To have someone give you their full attention and really listen to you, is so meaningful. You feel like they are there for you and that they are enjoying this time with you. Nothing could interrupt it.

Physical closeness and touch

Affection and closeness tells you that you are loveable and people like being with you. It might be someone sitting close to you on the couch, having your hair brushed, your hand held or someone just happy to be in your presence.

All of the love languages are important and the trick is to become fluent in all five. Our children and family will be enriched and feel deeply loved when we can love them specifically the way they long to be loved. It might feel awkward at first because we all tend to want to show love to others the way we like to have love shown to us – and that’s okay, give it time. Being able to love others more fully and deeply is going to be wonderful for all your relationships.


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About Author

Jenny Hale

Jenny has a primary teaching background and spent three years as a parent educator. Jenny runs workshops at the Parenting Place centre in Auckland and at Hot Tips events around New Zealand. She is the senior Family Coach, working with existing clients as well as training new coaches. Jenny writes regularly and makes appearances on TV 3's The Café. Jenny has two adult children and is a grandmother of two young children.

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