Authors: Gary Chapman, PhD and Ross Campbell, MD
Brief Summary: This book is a wonderful resource for parents who want to raise emotionally healthy children. The authors explain specifically the ways children receive and perceive our love, and the book helps parents learn how to keep their children’s emotional love tanks full with unconditional love so that they can then train them and guide them more effectively. Chapman and Campbell explain that if children feel genuinely loved by their parents, no matter how the children act, they will be more responsive to parental guidance in all areas of their lives.
The premise of Chapman and Campbell’s book is that there are five love languages – physical touch, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and words of affirmation – through which children receive love. As parents we need to communicate our love for each child through all five languages so that our children not only learn to love in all those ways, but so they have their love tanks filled. Each child has a primary love language that best communicates love to him or her, and when we identify a child’s primary love language and speak it often, in addition to the other languages, we can best meet his or her deep emotional need for love.
In chapters two through six the authors outline each love language and then give several very specific, practical ideas for how to show children love in each language. In chapter 7 they teach us how to identify a child’s primary love language.
The authors also discuss how to effectively use discipline — within the context of the love languages. Ideally, a child’s love tank is full before we administer discipline. When it is, parents are much more successful at effecting change and understanding with the child.
One valuable piece of advice I gleaned is that we should give a child a conscious expression of love before and after administering punishment.
The book ends with hope for all parents by explaining that even if the reader did not employ these techniques with their children when they were young, it’s never, ever too late to begin – even with adult children.
Parts I Liked Best: There is so much guidance throughout the book about how to positively influence and love your children that this book is very encouraging. It was so valuable to learn how to love each of my children in the specific way that will meet their needs the best. I loved the practical ideas on how to implement each love language. I loved learning how to emotionally connect to my children and to show them truly unconditional love. I also learned that I can never underestimate the power of encouraging words in my communication with my children. I also realized that when the kids ask for a drink of water throughout the day, and my first reaction is to tell them to get it themselves, that I also have an opportunity to serve my kids and let them know how much I love them by simply giving them a cup of water with a smile.
How This Book Made an Impact In My Life, Especially as a Mother (or why I just really liked it): Thanks to this book, I am now aware of emotional needs I may not have met in the past for my children, and I am now modifying some of my parenting techniques. I can see the difference in how my children respond to me. The principles in this book can also be applied to spouses and other loved ones. I highly recommend this book. It has really given me clarity on some of the parenting issues that used to challenge me.
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