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February 3, 2022 5:00 am
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Words of affirmation, acts of service quality physical touch and you receiving that Dr. Gary Chapman sharing about learning your child's love language and easier with the suggesting that while most parents do love their children and do want their children to feel loved. Few of us know how to effectively communicate those feelings you'll get some help with that today this is Focus on the Family with your host focus president Jim Daly and I'm John Foley, John.
We shared many times on the broadcast that parenting is tough work and that is and one morning absolutely and it's great to have Dr. Gary Chapman back with us along with my wife, Jean, I'm always thrilled when she's here with us to give that mom's perspective. Gary is the author of best-selling book the five love languages which are sold.
I think more than 14 million copies, it resonates and that he's taken those concepts from that book and applied them to parenting, helping us to know better how to love our kids through their love language and I'm looking forward to the discussion today and a lot of the content is in Gary's book the five love languages of children. We've got copies of that here just call 800 K and the word family or stop by the show notes for the link.
In addition to being a writer. Here's a pastoral counselor and that he and his wife Carolyn have been married for over 50 years. They have two grown children, Gary welcome back. Thank you is going to be back. It's always good to have Eugene welcomed into the studio while think he is always a pleasure being here it is. It's a pleasure having you obviously Gary.
Let's get going on this and I'm I'm excited about helping parents do the best job they can do and you know it's a tough task like we talked about how do we as parents often fall short in expressing our heartfelt love for kids even though their frustrating us well you I think the most parents are sincere and I think most parents want their children with the children don't always fill out and we recognize that one of the deepest emotional needs that a child has is the need to feel loved by the significant people in their lives and the parents are the most significant people in their lives sometime soon and every child, there's an emotional love tank and honor the love tank is full. The child grows up emotionally healthy. If the love tank is empty and the child feels like they don't love me. I grew up with a lot of internal emotional struggles in the teenage years, they will often go looking for love, typically in the wrong places.
So find this book I'm trying to help parents realize that sincerity is not enough for you to learn how to communicate love to each individual child and what makes one child for love will not necessarily make another child feel right. It's so true you know and parents come into this with their own baggage.
We don't get a manual from the hospital scissors are you parent that would be a good thing. But the point of that is you know we bring our own scars our own wounds into this and temperaments are different. You know Jean is kind of the black-and-white thinker in our relationship and and I think for me probably lean a little more into the relationship. What are you thinking I'll definitely yeah and so in that context. So how can we learn to be intentional about filling the tank when we have our own deficits will wait.
We all have a history that we didn't choose and then some of our history due to poor decisions along the way and so sometimes I think the beginning place for a parent if they realize not only that I'm doing really good job with this parenting thing maybe is that I ask you somebody else you know how what you think and maybe there's a place to apologize to children so you know I realize I haven't been doing this or that or whatever you know and I guess I will ask you to forgive me.
I will be a better parent and I'm trying to be a better parent. If we realize that we are all in process.
None of us are perfect parents. You don't have to be a perfect parents to have healthy children that we do have to deal with our failures and that's were apologizing to the child and the chopper give us were teaching them a real skill because they will have to learn to apologize to somewhere along the line in the book you say that saying I love you isn't enough. I probably error in that side, I'd say a lot of I love youse that I don't know that I go the extra mile describe with that extra mile should look like, well, I think going whatever we grew up with is probably what we do or whatever makes us feel loved, is what we tend to do for the other person. Can you give me an example well if words of affirmation is my love language if that's what makes me feel loved. Then I'll probably give much words of affirmation and tell them how great their doing sports I'll tell them how wonderful and how proud I am if I made a be in that class are you now give them words of affirmation, I'll say the words I love you over and over again, that's important.
Absolutely not. If words is not that child's language they will not necessarily fill out even though were sincere. They will be getting it.
I remember a 13-year-old who was in my office.
He run away from home and he said to me in the course of our conversation, my parents don't love me they love my brother but they don't love me. I knew his parents. I knew they loved.
The problem is they had never discovered his primary love language and consequently maybe they were giving them words of affirmation.
This language was on the other languages and consequently didn't feel loved. Yeah let's since we've opened that door. Let's quickly go over the five love languages and discuss primary and secondary. These are no particular order, but physical touch his way to express we've long known that words of affirmation is a way of expressing love quality time by which I mean you give the child your undivided attention. And then there's gifts is an active service enhance the receiving of the ceiling of the Afghans leaving a gift that trips people up. I think when I try to describe the going really that you receiving a gift is your love language not giving a gift you you I think often we think in terms of what is my love language, but were talking about the other person's love language is receiving the gift.
If receiving gifts makes you feel a you probably give your kids all got gifts right but maybe there languages words of affirmation and you don't give them words of affirmation, so you're why when you fill out man you got so many things you know so we tend to express kind of in some regards the way we want to be loved is what you're saying to Jim and Jean all go and just throw you in the spotlight and wonder when did you discover some of the these concepts for your own voice because there's a lot here to learn what it's kind of funny because I was reading the book years ago with my boys were nearby me. Troy particularly I'm ever going through it.
I was getting ready to do the broadcast with Gary and I think Troy was four years old is now 19, if that makes any of us feel that I met her I was reading them out loud and I said to Troy, which one of these best describes you and I read through them as soon as I said physical touch is that's me four years old is that's me. I love hugs that I love, hugs. I love when you tickle my back and I think Regina you are more in tune with Trent.
Well yes, but also with Troy. I would say it was I think it was easy to pick up on with him because he was always hiding eyes are always writing is brother yeah he was. I look at photos when they were young and Troy Woods always had been easy to pick up on his love language at a young age.
Our oldest central place more difficult to decipher what his love language was and he did take the quiz and I think were to be land words of affirmation with number one and then quality time. Yeah, I remember Trent, it was so funny because when he was five, six years old.
I got a hug and then he be like a cardboard cut out his hands would be down the side and I literally had to teach and how to hug you know, just give me a big hug and try to squeeze my kidneys that is okay, but today's a pretty good hug. He's a great hunger and I would like to say even though with Trent so we didn't know that his love language when he was younger. Woods words of affirmation. Thankfully I had listened to Focus on the Family broadcasts and new that it was important to catch your child doing something right and there was a time where that was challenging. It said that right catch them doing something right in the firm them and that dear Lemanski, your actual background in college was anthropology of five-member cliffs.
That's correct in youth compared to foreign language skills with emotional language skills so explain that especially in the context of helping your children, how does that all come together in your mind. Well, you know, if you speak Chinese and I speak only English with a southern accent. Chances are I can speak to you all kind of things and you don't get any of it because we go to different language. So if I want to communicate to you really. I have to learn to speak Chinese and you have to learn speaking the shipper going to really have a relationship. I think the same thing is true with children and parents. If a parent has one love language to let's say words of affirmation or any of any one of the men. This is what they will normally give to that child, but since that's not the child's love language.
The child doesn't receive it emotionally. They hear it, but they don't get it emotionally and that's what were talking about meeting the emotional need to feel loved and so this is why I think this book is been so helpful to so many parents through the years is helping them understand if you have three children. They may each have a different love language and and please don't hear me saying that you only speak their primary love language you give heavy doses of the primary to sprinkle in the other four coming to Thales to learn how to receive love and give love and all five languages.
That's the healthiest adult most of us did not receive all five going out so we came to adulthood in some of these were not very natural for us but the key issues that you give heavy doses of their primary language and they going to feel loved and I just wanted for the listener that might just be jumping in this quickly. The five love languages again are words of affirmation, acts of service quality time physical touch and gifts receiving gifts receiving gifts of that's the context that you mention the idea of love and your kids feeling love.
I think we struggle especially in the Christian community.
I think only Jesus could deliver that you know really if were honest about it because there's always a bit of performance involved, especially with their kids and we don't want to be there and were taught by great thinkers like yourself but you know another D and how do we not damage our kids and motivate them and show them unconditional love may be in a tender place in our own heart that it's hard for us to do is your performance reflects upon me, but I think with words we have to recognize we want to affirm them for effort, not for perfection. I member a 13-year-old young man was in the hospital with ulcers, stomach ulcers and I was asked to go visiting in the context I said to him, how do you and your dad get along and he said I don't ever please my father and say can you give an example. He said well if I make a builder report card. My father will say you should might enable your smarter than this and later in the conversation. Again another example. He said if I mow the grass on Saturday.
My dad will say you did you know the bushes. Did you see the grass on the bushes and he said when I play ball. If I make a double. My father will say you should later triple now that more you learn how to run but I'm glad I didn't have the deck I could hit a ball and now I knew what his father was trying to do is trying to motivate him to give his best. Whatever it was, but you understand what the sun was hearing. I don't ever please my father so let me ask Gary as a dad and I think dad's struggle with this more than moms. How do we dial it back. How do we consciously grab that because those are probably patterns that we learned as kids to especially boys like this young man, he may repeat that with his kids.
If he doesn't learn it right.
And here's what I say is this look if the child brings home a billion you think this in mind in a less the data pricing for the be yet a son of the that's good. It's next week to so you know, last week at your report card in my to be on this.
I bet you can make in a let's try this one was ended yet. Now, some parents are said to make yeah that's okay if I made a B isolated the right NSA melodies better than a D- Sunday night at the that's good. And then we talk about. Let's make it better and the time to point out the grass under the bushes is not the day they mowed the grass. That's the day you praise them for the grass. It's money. I think another good parenting skill to develop his hearing from your child's perspective. What is your child in here when you say you missed the grass under the bushes right if you can empathize with that. Although that might dial down that perfection that we may even mistakenly be expressed and this is what this is. Love languages, but this is really every parent needs to be dialed in right now to hear what you're saying because our words mean so much to our kids that were talking to Dr. Gary Chapman today on Focus on the Family and I Jim Daly in the studio with assigned warehouse Jim Daly of the book that were covering today is the five love languages of children written by Gary Chapman and the late Russ Campbell.
We do have copies of that here at the ministry. Just give us a call 800 K and the word family or click the link in the episode notes Gary and Jean let's work through these now physical touch.
We talked about it. So let's go there.
Jean, this is a practical example when we picking up kind of fell into the observation that Troy was physical touch. That's me had that guide your parenting with them. How did you embrace that and engage in. Well, it was easy when he was young, is when a high gear and all your little boys, but the older guy that was more challenging for me, but I would be intentional about scratching his back or putting my hand on his back. Something that's unnatural for me, but I knew it was important to him or even scratching. He loves you would live for Jim to scratch assigned final damage. Our next to my chair and puts his arm across my floor every night, yet, but it didn't you learn to verbally engage him by putting a hand on her shoulder, touching him in some way and that's great right back crabs at night.
It's a little harder. Gary is in it when they become teenagers because things might change a little bit. I'm thinking of guys whose daughters are physical touch. Yeah, I think what we have to recognize this as I get to be teenagers. We have to change different forms when they were little we were hugging him and they were sitting on her lap and all that sort of thing they could be teenagers and maybe it's high-fives and wrestling to the floor or if it's a daughter you know you're giving her still giving her hugs and some fathers of Ghana drawn back in those early teenage years from hugging their daughters because they heard so much about the sexual abuse etc. and I say if you don't keep hugging her. She'll find an 18-year-old guy who will so don't know real practical example and Jean. You've mentioned this to me with your own dad. There was a moment that unique and mentioned the age. I can't recall exactly what you said you just remember your dad pulling back right I would 680 you stay, carry me to bad and then just one day mean it stopped and he hugged me once when I was 15 and I cried well so it's something caused him to pull back and I appreciate you talk about that gear because my girls still as adults lean into me for a hug and I love that is really healthy.
Okay, let's move your words of affirmation what.
As a child whose primary love language is words of affirmation, need to hear from him that and again I love this. It sounds elementary, but some of us don't get this. This probably is a little weaker area for me so I'm asking for a friend of mine. Words of affirmation, how do we effectively's apparent express that well. I think we recognize first Russell you can focus on the child the way they look. Maybe the muscles they have a smile they have on their face are just things like that about them in sync. You're so beautiful when you smile just looking for things about them physically and maybe their personality and focusing on that a bit. Also can be focusing on things that they're doing that you really want to see them learn how to do so. Maybe after a ballgame.
You see your son go over to a guy who just missed a shot and he gives an encouraging words. So dad says later to him a man I saw what you did tonight and I know he felt bad about missing that shot man that's great when you give people encouraging words is looking for things with her already doing once in a while you verbally affirm that and it tends to build that into their lifestyle.
I think Jean I don't know that I'm effective with Trent because we can learn late that words of affirmation.
You did this was not obvious and he is a bit stoic and is very science minded you know talks very matter-of-factly. He's very factual in his thinking so that you night I was kind of thrown and then words of affirmation, I think you did a great job Jane, but how about doing that with Trent.
Well now that he's older one that's one positive use of technology. I will text him and it's L text him now. Trent just so proud of you for whatever it is and it yeah I think it needs to be sincere and you know that again I can be challenging that some periods of the child's life fights we have to work hard to find something positive about that, especially those teen years he was. He was the strong-willed child, but I remember the day he was pre-19 and he said the gene Mann that was an awesome meal. Thank you for cooking that meal and seems job and left the room and I'm looking at things like what I love the adult brain right yes yeah it was so much fun and he's these That go yeah he's very appreciative to Regina and uses words of affirmation to affirm you. I notice that regularly gear you have a great story in the book about a schoolteacher who asked her class to write worming words toward their classmates tell us about that you will. They each wrote affirming words for every other student in the class and those were then given to the students and years later. This is in a middle school class. Years later, one of the students was actually killed in Vietnam and in the battle, but in his clothing.
They found some of the statements that people had given him and they returned those to the family and the family shared some of those with that teacher just so she would know how deeply that particular experience meant that young man that those words those positive affirming words he had with him when he was killed he carried them with him. It's powerful, especially if words as their language words of affirmation written and spoken song speak deeply and you know that's illustrative of of the impact of the child with the parents words) you write back to our relationship with their kids. I mean, in their heart there carrying that note absolutely absolutely guarantee coming back to this, but you counsel so many parents they come to you for help is a desperate in that context.
How does a parent who is in that right, for whatever reason, kinda going back to the dad. Hey, you miss the grass under the bushes, or could be even more extreme right were there's a constant drumbeat of negativity from the parent. What hook would you give them if they were sitting on your couch in your office and they were expressing this to you.
I just Gary, I just don't know how to get out of that group. It's what my dad did to me. Think personal is recognizing that is happening because many times parents are not aware what they're doing until they really start thinking about it but here something like we were just talking about this at all.
I think I'm doing that right.
You know that's the first snap is recognizing that what you're doing is not helping is making things worse and then I think it's followed by an apology to the child maybe saying you know I was listing to focus on the family and they were talking about the topic and I came to realize that I probably give you far more negative words than I give you positive words do you feel that way, and the general public for their heart out.
That's all I ever hear from you, mom or dad. Okay, that's a first stab now. We got out in the open, then you apologize for that child never really I didn't think my dad did that to me. My mom did that to me and here I am doing it to you and I don't want to do that anymore. You know, and I just want to ask you to forgive me and I will try to learn how to see the positive things you're doing because you're doing so many good things and I just want to focus on those and I don't the negative words have been giving you that's the turnaround. It is that process and then God will give us the ability to change we can. We human and we can change can change broken patterns and that that desire for awareness going all the way back to filling your child's love tank. What are the adjectives that describe a child who has a full tank and a child who doesn't Wellington who has a full tank typically have a positive spirit. They relate to the parents in a positive way. You sent smiles on their face. Children who don't feel loved and appreciated, will not be smiling much.
And they will not be given the parent positive words they owe anything to their friends. They may be complaining about what's going on long before they complained to their parents about if in that context, those broken relationships another in and we know some people that are in this place and it breaks our hearts where their 16-year-old son or daughter is not connected any longer may not even be in the home anymore.
Living with family, friends, or something like that. How does that parent begin to rebuild that relationship when it's that broken well. I think it takes time but there has to always be a first and the child has to be willing to reciprocate before you can take a step, but if you apologize to them sincerely let them know you would really like to make relationships better and whatever opportunity you do have you began to affirm them or speak their love language that they began to see that you're sincere and you really are changing, then there can be reconciliation and that is the goal and I think the five love languages give parents a framework to do that, whether it's at the beginning of that relationship or in a strained aspect of the relationship, probably in the later teen years. As we know we've only covered physical touch. Gary and words of affirmation, we have more to cover the other three. So if both you and Jean can stick with us.
Can we come back next time and keep going be happy to absolutely so good and I hope I hope the listeners and the viewers have benefited from this. This is parenting 101 and I wish I would've concentrated more Jean on this. When our kids are boys were younger because I think we sometimes accidentally got it right. And there's no reason to do that you can do this with purpose and Gary's great book the five love languages of children is a framework to help you do something very very important in their life and that is to fill their love tank is so many good things flow from that and I hope you get a copy right here from Focus on the Family and if you can make a gift of any amount will send it to you as our way of saying thank you for participating in ministry to help other families donate today? Copy of the five love languages of children you call 800 K and work-family work. Click the links in the shutdowns and while you're at the website. If you're not quite sure what your love languages take the quiz. We've got a link to Dr. Chapman's materials. It's an easy quizzically fun to learn.
If you haven't yet done so and on behalf of Jim Daly, and the entire team here. Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family join us again next time.
As we continue the conversation with Jane and with Dr. Chapman and once again help you and your family thrive in Christ. It really had my jaw dropped when I saw them come in and my wife would say clubhouse magazine tainted air clubhouse Junior magazine came today and they wouldn't even stop her snack. Your kids can be just as excited about godly values and fund that will help grow their faith, they would not coming home from school, they would grab a magazine and one would be in the corner of the living room and another in the corner in the family room and couldn't get a word in edge wise with them, probably an hour hour and 1/2 gone over every word on every page. Just always a highlight of their money plant the seeds of God's truth in your children and grandchildren with Focus on the Family clubhouse and Focus on the Family clubhouse Junior magazine. Learn firstname.lastname@example.org/