Have you heard of the theory of the five love languages? They are: gift giving, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time and physical touch.
It’s said that each of us can experience love through all of these languages, but for most of us one or two will dominate.
The further I travel in my adventure as a parent and journey to embrace simplicity, the more I wonder if our society is experiencing an imbalance in the way we express love. Is gift giving becoming a dominant force in our consumer-driven society? Is physical clutter a by-product of our desire to express affection for our loved ones and a reflection of our waning ability to communicate love in other ways?
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Are we experiencing an imbalance in the way we express love?
I am all for gift giving – I believe it is a wonderful way to give and receive love. But, the other four love languages are becoming endangered species in our most sacred relationships.
As a mother who follows a natural parenting path, devoid of conventional discipline techniques, I rely almost exclusively on connection; on strengthening the bond I have with my son, which means that when I need him to, he will willingly give up what he wants to do and cooperate with what I need him to do instead.
Our children are primed for connection
Young babies want to be held close to us most of the time. Children love inviting us into their worlds to connect through play, through one on one time.
Making sure that we include as many of the five love languages into our family life as possible enriches our relationships but also has the positive knock on effect of reducing clutter and limiting toys as we naturally tend towards expressing love through other means.
Let’s teach our children that they don’t need to receive countless gifts in order to feel loved. Let’s challenge ourselves to express love in other ways. It will ripple out into our lives in a myriad of positive ways.
Ways to express love through languages other than gift giving
From the moment our children are born our society suggests that we can “spoil” our babies if we hold them “too much”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Babies thrive with physical touch.
Newborns rely on their mother’s touch to help regulate their temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, blood glucose and more. When mothers hold their babies, especially skin-to-skin, their physiology mimics their mother’s and they thrive. So hold you baby.
And then hug your kids. Family therapist Virginia Satir famously said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
Hug your child good morning, good-bye and hello. Snuggle in bed at nighttime and on the couch watching a movie.
In our modern world it seems as though we’re always with our phones. Distractions are moments away and those we’re with can start to feel second best. Prioritize your family when you’re actively spending quality time together. Leave your phone at home, let your child decide what they’d like to do and remember that as cliché as it may sound, children spell love T.I.M.E and perhaps so do we.
Connection is the antidote to coercion. Join the Free 5 Day Natural Parenting Superpowers Challenge, a snackable email series with practical tips that inspire joy, connection and cooperation. And connect with Tracy of Raised Good on Facebook and Instagram.
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