Friday, April 9, 2010
Your Teen's Love Language
I'm not a mother yet, but I do spend a lot of time with my mom. And I know how difficult it can be for her to communicate with us (especially with my teenage siblings... oh alright, with me too although I'm older now).
Once we become teenagers, so many changes took place not just on the outside but also on the inside. Sometimes it gets confusing trying to adjust to these changes. It's a forked road: we're no longer children, yet we're not yet adults. In the process of "finding ourselves," we tend to pull away from our parents. But it doesn't mean that we want them out of our lives--or at least that wasn't the case for me! There were simply so many new emotions raging inside me that I didn't know how to express. In truth, I still loved and needed my parents, even as much as when I was a kid. I just wasn't sure how to express it.
I recently came across an article from Families.com written by a mom of teens. It's about knowing your children's "love languages." It's interesting and insightful. Let me know what you think:
LEARN YOUR TEEN'S LOVE LANGUAGE
"One of my favorite books that I have read more than once is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. This book talks about the different love languages that we have. They are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Most of us enjoy all of these love languages but we tend to especially appreciate one or two more than the others.
By reading this book not only do you discover what your primary love language is but you also realize that it's usually the love language you show toward other people. The problem with that is we may not be speaking their love language. So we need to figure out what other people's love language is.
I have learned to do this with my children. In fact there is a specific book Gary Chapman has written for parents called "The Five Love Languages of Children." I think this is especially helpful when raising tweens and teens. Relationships between parents and children tend to take a turn when they become tweens. It becomes different and because of that, many times parents are unsure how to walk this new path. But if you learn your teenager's love language and speak it to them, you really can't go wrong.
My oldest son who turns 16 next week is a very quiet, shy and introverted person. Although his personality traits need to be taken into account as our relationship grows and develops, I especially need to pay attention to his love language. The love language that speaks to him is words of affirmation. He tends to question and doubt himself which I think has a lot to do with his personality so he especially thrives on hearing encouraging words.
My daughter who is on the verge of turning 13 is not real shy but not real out there either. She is in the middle and actually that is very fitting since she really is our middle child. She is a balance of my oldest and youngest sons. However her primary love language is quality time. She especially enjoys when we have mother/daughter nights. Spending time with her means the most.
Then there is my youngest son who is a tween. He is the wild, crazy one of the bunch. He is very social and loves life. His primary love language is gift giving. He just lights up when he receives a gift.
As for myself, my primary love language is acts of service. Do you know which love language I tend to speak the most? Yes, acts of service. It is easy for me to get sucked into thinking that others enjoy that love language; however, I need to nurture the primary love language of each of my children. When I do that I notice that our relationship is better and communication is stronger. They feel more connected to me.
Learn your teen's love language and I can bet you will see a more positive change in your relationship."
You may also read the article here.
Image from sheknows.com