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Tips & tricks for parents to make the most out of every moment.

Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell make some interesting points in their book, The Love Languages of Children about Love Language #4, Gifts. “The giving and receiving of gifts can be a powerful expression of love, at the time they are given and often extending into later years. The most meaningful gifts become symbols of love, and those that truly convey love are part of a love language. Yet for parents to truly speak love language number four-gifts- the child must feel his parents genuinely care. For this reason, the other love languages must be given along with a gift. The child’s emotional love tank needs to be kept filled for the gift to express heartfelt love.”

Of all the love languages, I think gifts is the most complicated one to balance and apply. The authors share with us in chapter 5, gifts must be combined with another love language, so not to be misinterpreted by a child that the gift it is an expression of conditional love (birthday and special holiday gifts get a pass on this). Gifts can be an easy way to express your feelings towards your child, but if the gift is the only love language your child is receiving from you, it could be sending the wrong message.

I’ve been waiting patiently to write about this love language, well, maybe not so patiently…. In Gary Chapman’s and Ross Campbell’s The 5 Love Languages of Children, I think the authors beautifully articulate the purpose of acts of service. The authors write, “The ultimate purpose of acts of service to children is to help them emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others through acts of service. This includes not only being helpful to cherished loved ones but also serving persons who are in no way able to return or repay the kindness.” 


Sometimes, the acts parents do for their children daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly, seem to go unnoticed. When parents feel like their efforts of genuine love expressed through their acts of service go unappreciated, attitudes can teeter towards going into the  resentful camp. Chapman and Campbell warn their readers about keeping attitudes in check because when we become less than positive, children will feel these acts are not an expression of love. The authors tell us, when parents care for their children with a spirit of resentment and bitterness, a child’s physical needs may be met, but their emotional development can be greatly hampered.



I struggle with the word discipline when using it in connection with children. I believe using the words redirecting and teaching are more descriptive of what children need from loving and nurturing parents to better understand the world around them. What do you think?  In, The 5 Love Languages of Children, Dr. Chapman and Ross Campbell, write, “Discipline (redirection) involves the long and vigilant task of guiding a child from infancy to adulthood. The goal is that the child would reach a level of maturity that will allow him one day to function as a responsible adult in society. The purpose of discipline/redirection is to correct behaviors and help a child develop self-discipline/control.”

Generally, the behaviors parents are attempting to stop/change are normal emotions/wants we all have; children just go about expressing themselves in a more honest way. Remember the saying, “Out of the mouths of babes?” Most of us like to go first, don’t want to wait patiently, and would love to express our feelings in painfully honest ways, but that probably wouldn’t serve us well as an adult. Knowing these are “human” challenges, how do we help our children learn how to manage their feelings and ask for what they want appropriately?  



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