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    What Is Your Love Language As A Parent?

    By Dr. Srividya
    16 Nov'22  6 min read
    What Is Your Love Language As A Parent?
    Synopsis

    Our love language is the way we, knowingly or unknowingly, prefer to express our love and affection to a dear one. Knowing your own love language can help you parent better and connect more meaningfully with your teen. This article throws light on how you can identify your love language and enhance your relationship with your teenager.  

    What Is Your Love Language As A Parent?
    Synopsis

    Our love language is the way we, knowingly or unknowingly, prefer to express our love and affection to a dear one. Knowing your own love language can help you parent better and connect more meaningfully with your teen. This article throws light on how you can identify your love language and enhance your relationship with your teenager.  

    Just like each of us may be relatively more comfortable communicating in a particular language like Hindi, English, Malayalam, Gujarati, French etc, we also might have our own typical ways in which we express love or want to be loved. American author Gary Chapman in his book, “The Five Love Languages” talks about five types of love languages based on physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gifts or visual symbols of love.

    To give you a quick understanding, we’ve explained through hypothetical examples how love languages have helped parents better relationships with their children or how a mismatch has brought a crack in them.

    Love Language: Physical Touch

    Anusha is hanging out with her friend Aaliya at her place. Aaliya’s dad returns home and gives her a hug. He talks to Anusha nicely before he settles at his work table. Anusha thinks to herself about how her dad would never really hug her. It’s not that he didn’t love her, he did but he wouldn’t hug her or even pat her. A fleeting thought and she goes back to the Scotland Yard game they were playing.

    Later that evening, Anusha’s dad Ratan comes to take her home. Aaliya walks up to give him a hug while Anusha watches awkwardly and says, “my dad’s not such a hugger”. Aaliya giggles and steps back, and Ratan is left wondering why he was always awkward with physical touch. He rarely hugged or patted his family. His wife Usha was the same, and while they loved their daughter a lot, hugging didn’t come easy to them.

    Also Read | 5 Things You Should Say More Often To Your Teen

    Are you comfortable with hugs? When you really want to show your appreciation or care, do you reach out and hold your child tightly or even gently? What does your teen want? Do they like physical touch as a sign of love?

    Physical touch is something teens can be quite sensitive about as they are growing and become conscious of their image in front of their peers. So, while it may be acceptable to some teens to get a tight hug and kiss, some may prefer a “hi-fi” or maybe a gentle pat.

    Love Language : Acts Of Service

    Nandita, a working mother who has a hectic role as a journalist, reached home rather tired. The domestic help was unavailable for the day and there was cooking and cleaning to be done soon. Nandita’s son Nilesh was home that day as schools had been called off due to the heavy rains forecasted in NCR. Her husband was returning by the night flight from a business trip. Nandita was tired and asked Nilesh to fix her a cup of tea. Nilesh was a hotel management aspirant and was better than Nandita at cooking and fixing hot meals. He put his Ipad aside and put on the kettle. Nandita was super happy and rested after a hot cup of tea and got up to finish some cleaning chores and cooking. Nilesh did not like cleaning at all and so he had left the house in quite a mess. But he was happy to fix some pasta and warm some soup for dinner. Nandita felt happy to be helped and the tiredness of the day gradually faded as her son helped around the house.

    Also Read | 6 Personal Experiences You Must Share With Your Teenager

    She felt grateful for having a son who liked to help in the kitchen. “You are lucky!”, her friend Mithu would lament. “My girls don’t help at all!” Nilesh was the quiet type, he would not praise his mom or anyone, but he would try to help. This was exactly what Nandita needed as for her it was a great way to show love and concern. For her, the primary way she wanted to receive love was through acts of service and it seemed to be the same for Nilesh. This helped them have a smooth communication and helpful relationship. Acts of service are a common love language for parents who are super busy and are working very hard at work and at home.

    Does this sound like you? Do you like it when your loved ones help you with tasks and chores? Do you help others to show your love? Think. Does your teen smile when they find their wardrobe settled or books arranged neatly? Maybe they like acts of service too.

    Love Language : Gifts

    Noora was waiting for her flowers and gifts on Mother's Day. Her daughter, Ibtesam, had planned a different surprise. Noora looked at her phone at 7 am in the morning and found a series of heartwarming messages from her daughter who was pursuing her graduation abroad. Last year, Ibtesam was home and got her flowers and cake. This made Noora feel so loved. However, this year was a different set of surprises. Her daughter was sending her cute messages, photos and voice mails every couple of hours telling her what all she liked about her. Noora had not heard so many words of appreciation in a long, long time!

    love language for parents, love languages for parents, love languages and childhood, Love languages parent childPhysical touch is something teens can be quite sensitive about as they are growing and become conscious of their image in front of their peers.

    Also Read | Should Parenting Be Gender- Neutral?

    Noora felt special; however, something was amiss. She just so loved receiving gifts, she had gotten used to getting them on every occasion. She also bought and gave a lot of small and big gifts for her friends when she wanted to show her love. So, this really got her thinking.

    Noora’s story shall continue in the next section.

    Love Language: Words & Time

    Towards the end of Mother’s Day, Ibtesam invited Noora to a Zoom call and they decided to watch the film “EnglishVinglish”, together. This was a surprise as Noora loved spending time doing nothing much with her daughter. It had been so many years since they just sat and did nothing. Just before Ibtesam left for her studies in Australia, there was always form-filling, revising, packing, stressing about everything.

    Noora suddenly realised how much she enjoyed this and was missing this quality time, chatting, resting and exchanging notes about movie stars, their clothes and dialogues.

    Also Read | Being A Single Parent: Helpful Tips To Give Your Best

    Noora asked her daughter how she would like to spend Daughter’s Day. Ibtesam piped in that off late, she had hardly heard anything good about the work she did. She was suffering from low confidence and self-esteem. Also, it seemed to her that everyone at college was always in a hurry. Ibtesam really wanted to slow down and do nothing, or maybe have a good chat. That’s how she planned this day after reading the book on Love Languages by Gary chapman.

    Noora figured that over time, giving and receiving gifts had become her love language. Words of appreciation and spending time together were something she was not used to. Perhaps because her children and husband were always busy, did she get used to being happy with gifts? Or did she like getting many expensive and small trinkets? Noora, then, made a note to ensure that she took out time for her daughter to chat, meet, and send her some affirmations every day.

    Also Read | Why You Need To Draw Boundaries With Your Teenage Child

    Now, ask yourself the following questions:-

    • How do you show your love to others?
    • How do your children want to be loved? Are there differences or preferences?
    • Have you ever felt that despite everything you do, your children don’t appreciate your love?

    Maybe you shower them with expensive gifts, while what they really want is to be able to talk to you and spend some time together. Maybe you need to just become aware of your love language and tweak your communication a bit! All it will take is some reflection, and newer, slightly different ways of responding and loving. Try it, it is super simple and totally works with most folks and teens.

    Dr. Srividya is an Organisational Psychologist, Career, and Personal Growth Coach. She works with teens, parents, adults, and returning professionals, to help them align their personal and professional needs, desires, and overcome personal and professional challenges. She can be reached at www.lifevidya.in.

    • Behavioural sciences
    • Culture
    • Language
    • Adolescence
    • Child
    • Love
    • Aaliyah
    • Symbol
    • Hug

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