In every child, there's an emotional love tank. You know, and if the love tank is full, the child grows up emotionally healthy.
If the love tank is empty, then the child feels like they don't love me. Dr. Gary Chapman was our guest last time on Focus on the Family talking about the need that every child has to feel loved and wanted. We'll continue the conversation with him today about the five love languages of children, and your host is Focus President and author Jim Daly.
I'm John Fuller, and we're also joined, Jim, by your dear wife. Yeah, it's always good to have Gene in here. John, every parent has the interesting challenge of discovering the right language and, you know, obviously to communicate their, hopefully, close to unconditional love to their child. It's so important that children feel loved by their parents, but it can be stressful to do that at times because you're not always getting the response.
Maybe have that sassy child that you don't really feel like being unconditionally loving toward. Did you ever have that experience, Gene? Gene's nodding like, yep, yep.
That strong-willed kid. But today we're going to talk again with Gary Chapman, Dr. Gary Chapman. The conversation last time was good.
I think it was engaging. And I would just encourage parents. This is Parenting 101. I so wish that Gene and I would have locked into this earlier than we did. So that's why here at Focus we wanted to bring Gary to you to make sure that you're applying these principles of the love languages and raising your kids. And if you're a grandparent, get this for your adult child, your son or daughter who's raising those beautiful grandchildren.
But it is a great way to really lay the bedrock for parenting. So Gary and Gene, welcome back. Thank you. It's so good to have you. Thank you. It's great to be back.
It is. And Gary, let me pick up from last time we covered the first two love languages, physical touch and words of affirmation. The next three, let's just start with quality time.
What does that communicate to a child? And again, I think this is one where I can fumble a bit so you can chastise me. It's quality time. So talk to both of us on this. A lot of dads probably struggle here. Yeah, quality time is giving the child your undivided attention.
Yeah, that's the problem. You know, in today's world, we are multitaskers, you know. So okay, your kid's talking to you and you're on your computer or you're reading a magazine and you're listening, but they don't have your full attention. And that's not quality time. And so the child feels like something on his computer is more important than I am. Or if you're talking to a child and having a conversation and your phone rings and you answer your phone, again, to that child, it says somebody out there is more important than I am. Now, I understand some people have to be on duty, you know, and medical doctors and all. So you just say to the child, honey, this is an emergency, but stay right here.
I want to finish our conversation. But you let them know that they have your full attention. That's at the heart of quality time.
You know, I kind of threw dads on the fire there. But Jean, let me ask you too, as a busy mom, and you know, some moms are working outside the home. They're certainly working inside the home.
And you're spent. And yet, you know, your kids need quality time. How does that resonate for you as a busy mom? Yes, well, let's face it, there are not enough hours in a day when you have children in the home to get everything done.
So we have to prioritize our time. And I found, you know, you just have to come up with creative ways. And and that's why broadcasts like this and Dr. Chapman's book, we have all these helpful resources to find creative ways to spend time with your kids. I can remember when Trent was young, he loved playing talkie toys.
And the action heroes would interact with each other. And I really one day I watched the clock. I would have said I was spending 20 minutes with him every time I did that.
And I watched the clock one day. One time it was three minutes, but it was enough. It felt like 20. It felt like 20. But it was it was enough. But I think also finding finding ways to do things that you want to do as well with your child, maybe spending time reading a bedtime story together or rubbing their back at night. Now, I was thinking that spending time in the car counted as quality time, Dr. Chapman.
Am I mistaken about that? You are the report card queen. So does she get an A or an F? It all depends on what you do in the car. If they're on their screen and you're driving the car, it's not quality time. But if there's conversation going on, it's quality time. Well, and you've mentioned and with that time in the car with your children not asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no. So open ended questions or questions that can be answered with fine.
But I did use that time in the car. She's a good student to try to draw out some conversation and get into the world a little bit. Elaborate on that and define that. I think conversation is important.
There's only one, what I call dialect, because as you say, it could be playing a game with them together, but they still have your full attention. But I remember, for example, that the child brings home a piece of art that they did at school. And the parent says, Oh, that's nice. That's beautiful. You did a good job with that. No conversation. That's a monologue. That's affirming words. That was fine.
But that's not quality time. But if after saying that, the mom says to that child, what were you thinking about when you drew that? And so I was thinking when we were down at grandmother's house and remember we had a picnic outside under the oak tree. And this was the dog.
Remember he ate my hot dog and I didn't like him, but I like him now. And now, you know, now you're having conversation. And what did you feel like, you know, when you were writing that? So it's not just giving affirming words. This is where words of affirmation and quality time differ. Quality time. And it doesn't have to be a long time.
You mentioned it could be a brief time. For example, a mother's fixing potato salad. And the five year old says, Mommy, can we play? Can we play, Mommy? And she said, Honey, I've got to finish the potato salad. And in two minutes, they're back. Can we play now, Mommy?
Can we play now? And this goes on two or three times. That child's language is quality time. They're begging you for it. So if you know that, why not give them five minutes before you start the potato salad and for five minutes of quality time with them. And then you say, now, honey, Mommy's got to go make the potato salad for supper. So you know, I've got a better idea.
Go to Costco. And buy the potato salad. I have a question. What do you think about bringing the child in to helping make the potato salad? Yeah, that's an act of service. Oh, you're teaching them how to do something.
Yeah, that's good. That could cost more time. It will. And they will not do it the way you want it. And the mayonnaise just ended on the floor. So get ready for that. You did do that with the boys. You invited them to help you prepare things.
That can be really challenging for parents because the dishes aren't going to be put away the way you want them to or loaded in the dishwasher the way you want or right things aren't going to look the way that you intended. But it is also teaching your kids how to do it. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I hear the distinction, though, being for a child with quality time, you're dialing it to them and what they're feeling as they do something or express something. You know, one thing again, I'll pull it toward the dad's side with quality time. You know, hey, let's watch the football game.
And they really don't want to do that. I mean, I noticed that with an ad. Yeah, I mean, Troy is just coming around at 19 now where he'll sit and watch a bit of a game with me, but it's never the whole game.
Yeah. And one of the points I make is to speak quality time, you have to go to where the child is. If they're little, you're on the floor, rolling the ball back and forth. You know, we they have your full attention. If the phone rings and you answer the phone now, you still roll the ball, but they don't have your full attention. Gary, let me ask you this, because this is, again, something that has to be intentional. I, you know, and I'm not going to just stereotype.
Yes, I am. I'm going to stereotype this. So guy comes home, he's tired. And four and five year old kiddos are wanting time and he wants to watch the news. You know, it's news, weather and sports time, click, click, click, you're kind of decompressing from work. I think with Jean's help, sometimes not gentle, but she's like, you know, the boys need your time.
I don't think that news station needs your time right now, or that football game. And it took a little time of her persistence, but I think I finally caught it and turned it off. Yeah, I think the word you used earlier, Jane priority, we have to choose our priorities. And when you have children in the home, then they should be one of your top priorities. Your spouse should be your first top priority.
But then the children, it's more important than anything you're going to watch on TV, anything you're gonna be doing on the computer. And if you realize that you keep bringing yourself back to that, you know, okay, I've got to do this. Would you describe that as habits? I think you get into a habit and you got to break the habit. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And when we can break habits, and we have to replace them with something different. So what we're replacing with is, in this case, is quality time with our children. Yeah.
So keep going, moms, keep pressing dad. But okay, let's move to gifts. This is the one for me, as I did the quiz, this is at the far end of I don't really care. I've noticed. And this is any again, this is the receiving of gifts. I think Jean, you've probably seen this for me. It's like, if you get me one Christmas present or 10, right?
Does it really matter? And it's first described that Scrooge mentality. And then helped me better understand that when this is a person's love language, what that looks like. If this is the child's love language, and let's say you didn't give them a birthday gift. That kid is going to feel like they don't love me, you know, now, parents will typically give birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, you know. But if gifts is their language, you have to give gifts more often than just birthdays and Christmas. But the gifts don't have to be expensive. Sometimes parents say, well, you don't want this to teach them materialism.
It's things, things, things. They don't have to be expensive. You can pick up a stone in a city parking lot and take it home and give it to an eight year old boy if gifts is his language and say, man, I found this today and I thought about you.
Look at the colors in here, man. I wanted you to have this. If gifts is his love language, you'll find that stone in his dresser drawer when he's 23 and he'll remember the day you gave it to him.
I appreciate that. We have one child that is very much a gift receiver and she can be effusive about getting a vacuum cleaner for a gift. I mean, it's just like, oh, it's wonderful. What a lucky man her husband will be. She's the blender girl. It's easy. Yeah.
Just anything. Well, this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. We're so glad to have Gene Daly with us and also Dr. Gary Chapman, who wrote a fantastic book, The Five Love Languages of Children.
Get your copy by clicking the link in the episode notes or give us a call. 800, the letter A in the word family. Gary, let's go to the last one and we have a few more questions for you here. But that idea of acts of service, most moms probably feel, and I'll get your affirmation on this, Gene, that they serve their kids all day long. Yes. So how do you differentiate between this love language and just the normal, I'm taking care of everything here? Yeah.
Well, I do think that we are forced as parents to speak this love language from the moment they're born. Which is a good way to look at it, actually. Yeah. A healthy way.
They can't do anything. We put the food in, we take the food out. I mean, we got to do it all, you know? And so in those early years, we're doing for them things they cannot do for themselves. But another part of this love language is teaching them how to do things for themselves. And this takes more time and energy. A six-year-old can make up their own bed, but they have to be taught. And it takes time to do that.
We mentioned this earlier. Teaching them how to cook a meal is a far more expression of love than cooking the meal for them. Right. Because you're preparing them for life. Our granddaughter could cook a full meal when she was 14 years old. Her father, who's the cook in the house, taught her how to cook a meal and she loves it. She makes her own birthday cakes, you know?
Wow. She just loves it. But she had that interest in that and she wanted to learn that. So I've sometimes said to parents, think along these lines. What would you like your child to be able to do by the time they're 18 years old? Why don't you make a list? If it's teenagers, let them help you make a list. What would they like to know how to do by the time they're 18 years old?
That's good. And let that be a guideline in terms of how you can speak the language acts of service. And this is good whether this is their primary language or not.
Because at 18, in our culture, they're going off to university, going to join the military, going to get a job, we hope. Yeah, exactly. They need to be prepared. And so this is one of the aspects of speaking this language that's super, super helpful to every child.
Yeah, I was thinking it more externally to the home, like going and volunteering at soup kitchen, doing things like that, which also applies there. But Jean, I hadn't thought about, I mean, at 10, you had the boys doing laundry. That was pretty good. I always thought, wow, yeah, you were good with that.
That was one thing I did. Right. No, it's true, though. They were.
Now, I don't know how many pink t-shirts we ended up with. Again, you know, the parents can do everything better than the kids. And it does take more time and energy in the beginning to teach them. But it is important, yes, to look at the end game.
Yeah. What do you want your child to be able to do as an adult? Gary, how do we set that boundary as a parent not to overindulge our kids needs in that way? Like, you know, there are some people we know that they're 17 and mom is still doing everything. How first, I guess, how do we realize that's not healthy?
And we've got to create the list, I guess you partially answered it there. But what if you're getting pleasure, you're deriving identity and self worth out of taking care of these kids, and you're taking care of them at 17, like you did at five? Yeah, I think you have to realize what's going to happen when they're 18, and they go off to university. That kind of sobers you up, because you recognize there are some things I need to teach these kids, you know, I think, first of all, as they're younger, we play to their interest. If they're interested in learning to cook, then if they're interested in sports, fine, whatever, you know, what are we can do, but we want to teach them with their interests. But later on, we want to be thinking strategically in terms of what is going to serve them well, when they get to be an adult. And even if they're not interested, we at least want to get them exposed to whatever that topic may be.
That is so good. Let's move into a little love and discipline discussion. In your book, you wrote disciplining a child without love is like trying to run a machine without oil. And that's a great illustration.
It appears to be working for a little while, but then the engine seizes, right? Describe that. Yeah, I think all of us as parents have to discipline our children. It means we have guidelines. We can call them rules. We can call them principles. We can call them guidelines. And we have consequences when they break the guidelines.
And that's a necessary part. God does that for us. In fact, the Bible says he disciplines all of his children. If you don't get disciplined, you don't belong to God.
So as parents, we model God in doing that. But discipline without the child feeling love comes across as harsh. And so one of the things I say is before you administer the discipline, speak their love language. Wrap it in their love language.
Let's say words of affirmation is their language. Let's say the rule is we don't throw the ball inside the house. If we do, the ball goes in the trunk for two days. And if you break something, you have to pay for it out of your allowance. So the child breaks the law. The parent says, honey, I'm so proud of you.
Because seldom do you break the rules. But you know you broke this one. And you know what has to happen, right?
They're heads down and they're nodding. Yes, okay. I'm feeling good. So let's go to the car. We put it in the trunk.
And I don't know how much the vase costs, but we'll have to take it out of your allowance. But listen, I'm so proud of you because you seldom do this. That child walks away feeling this is fair because they already knew what the punishment was going to be. When you have a rule, always tell them what's going to happen if they break the rule beforehand. They already know that and they feel this is fair. But if you simply go in there and say, I told you not to do that. You know better than that.
You know what's going to have to happen. Now the child walks away feeling like, you know, I try hard. I mess up on one thing and I get blasted. Or I'm worthless.
Yeah, I'm worthless. So we can't allow our emotional state at the time to control our behavior. And if we wrap it in love, the child feels like it's fair.
They accept it in the way you want it to be. Gary, I remember a time I disciplined Trent and he went to his room and I went up afterward and I was going to affirm him. I'm doing good so far, right? But he wouldn't speak to me.
He was probably eight, seven or eight. And I said, um, are you upset? And he shook his head.
Yes. You know, with one nod, bang. And then I said, can you talk with me? And he went, no, shook his head that way. And I said, can you write what you're feeling?
And he shook his head. Yes. So I went and got a pen and paper and I gave it to him and I said, how do you feel when I discipline you? And I remember he wrote, it feels like you don't love me.
Yeah. So what was he expressing to me? I think he was expressing his emotional response at the moment. And I think what you did was great. I would not have thought about the pencil paper thing, but I liked that because it gave him, he could not talk at that moment about it.
Right. He was too upset to do that. But yes, he could write out what he's feeling. And I think what we have to be thinking of in terms of parents when we're discipline is how does this come across to my child? Does it come across as this is a, I'm doing this because I love you because all disciplines should be flowing out of our love. We're letting them learn a tremendous principle in life that when we break the rules, there's consequences to breaking the rules. So we're teaching them something really, really important. But how does the way I'm delivering the discipline come across to them?
And if it comes across in a negative way, they don't feel loved by you. Gene, I think with Troy, it was hugs, right? We disciplined Troy and then the three times we had to discipline him because he, I mean, he just was never outside the boundaries typically.
Right. He was one of those children that you just give that kind of look to that, that disappointed look. And that was enough.
But I will say with our oldest son, it was more challenging. And, you know, honestly, for a lot of us parents, we are not calm. When they have done whatever it is for the umpteenth time, you're frustrated. You're really frustrated.
You're not feeling unconditional love. And Dr. Chapman, that's why I love that you talk about this. It's just so important for us as parents. We've got to find that way to calm ourselves down before we discipline the child. And whether it's taking three deep breaths or taking, I learned of a mommy timeout.
I love that one. You can't do that if you have a three year old that needs to be watched, but that's really the crux of it is that we can calm down. And as you talked about, keep in mind what, why are we wanting to discipline them? What is the point of it? Well, let me, let me frame it a little bit like this for the moms and dads listening where you have that stronger willed child, you have, you know, they require more attention.
Um, how do you reset constantly? I mean, you know, how do you get ahold of your own emotions so you're not losing it? I think we have to say to ourselves, I don't want to ever discipline my child out of anger.
Yes. Because if I do, it will come across as I don't like you. I don't love you.
You're an awful person. And so it's a timeout thing. I think we, we, whether we calm down a bit and if it's three minutes or if it's 30 minutes, we wait till we calm down a little bit so that we can approach it in a much more loving way because we want the discipline to come across as love. I do this because I love you. Yeah, that's good. Jim, you're making me think of one of my bigger regrets as a parent was what I called taking the bait with that child.
They're phenomenal. I just took it like a challenge and that's exactly what that child wanted. And I've so, I've so learned to just not go there. What's that transaction about? Gary, we're all laughing cause it's rooted in truth. This is what happens. They're pushing our buttons and we're going for the bait.
So what is that transaction all about between parent and child? Well, I think we have to recognize what's happening. First of all, you know that they're trying to get us upset because they want to see us do wrong. And then I think we just have to reckon, okay, this is a pattern. I'm beginning to see this now. Okay. God, I need your help to break the pattern, you know, cause we can break patterns.
Oh yeah. But it's tough. I remember Jean said to me sometimes, remember who the adult is. I must have forgotten that about myself. But it's true, man.
We just take it hook, line and sinker. Gary, as we close, I want to encourage the listener or the viewer who's never thought about their child's love language. It just hasn't been on the radar.
They haven't heard about it. Now that sounds a little odd after 14 million copies sold, but there will be some people that aren't familiar with the concept and now their child maybe is a little older. They're in that teen phase and they haven't been effective at first identifying their love language and second putting it into action so that if they are correcting them, how to affirm them through those words of affirmation, physical touch, what have you, what can they do today? Yeah.
Practically to get the ship righted a little bit. Yeah. I think one thing is to have a conversation with that teenager and just say, you know, I was listening to a radio program and I heard this or I read a book and I heard this concept that people have different love languages and I never thought about this before and I have a love language and daddy has a love language and you have a love language and I've never thought about this before. And I found out there was a free quiz and I went online and took that quiz. Dad and I did and I found out that what makes dad love is not what I thought. He's got a different love line. I thought this made him feel love, but no, this is it.
And he had mine wrong. And so there's one for teenagers. Would you be willing to take that quiz so we can talk about that? Because I don't know how much you feel love on a scale of zero to 10.
I think I love your 10, but I don't know if you feel it that way. And so that opens up the whole concept to them. And then we can really talk about it as a family and look back on the past. I think you touched on this, but I want to hit this once again, that idea of demonstrating humility to your children by asking for forgiveness. I remember the first time I did that and the boys, Trent was probably five or six. And I remember he was in the top bunk bed. And so he had me eyeball to eyeball and we had had a little confrontation and discipline and he's in bed and I go up to affirm him after reading Dr. Chapman's book. And I remember looking at him in the eyes and I just said, you know, I'm so sorry. I think I over, which I had, I over reacted and I just, I'd like to ask you to forgive me. And all of a sudden he had this big smile on his face and I'm thinking, okay, what's coming? And he goes, I didn't know parents had to ask for forgiveness.
And I said, are you kidding? We're going to make so many mistakes, Trent. And it was just awesome. And I think that was a moment that he will remember forever.
And that's a good place to start as well with humility. And man, this has been so good, Gary. I love when you come to the studio because you help us in so many ways. And Jean is so good to have your perspective here. And I'll see you tonight for dinner. Yes.
Yes. And I love hearing Dr. Chapman's perspective. This is great.
So good. So I hope you have benefited and let's get a copy to you of the book, the five love languages of children. And if you can make a gift to focus on the family for any amount, we'll send it to you as our way of saying thank you. You can support us monthly, which is great or a one-time gift. Either way, we'll send it to you. If you can't afford it, we're about helping you. So we'll trust that others will cover the cost of that. So just get in touch with us and ask for a copy to help you in your parenting journey. That's our goal at Focus to make you the best parent you can be.
Yeah. We want to come alongside you. So donate as you can.
Request that great book, the five love languages of children, and you'll find links to take the quiz so you can find out your love language as Gary was describing. It's all in the episode notes or call 1-800, the letter A in the word family for details. And on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team here, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family.
I'm John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. Focus on the Family Clubhouse and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazines are fun and educational for your children. There's a story that Clubhouse does every month where it's pictures. So the words of the story are written and then objects and characters are pictures instead of words. And so that has been great for early reading in a way that I didn't expect. Learn more at focusonthefamily.com slash club radio.
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