February 9, 2017

Platonic Love Languages

Before becoming a parent it’s always been important to me that I treat all my kids equally. I’ve been slowly recognizing equal isn’t always fair. Kids have different personalities, different needs and respond differently to different parenting techniques. I want them both to feel equally loved, and equally supported, but it may mean spending quality time with them differently to get there.

The concept behind love languages is that there are different ways to express love, and individuals generally has a primary way they express and feel love. By understanding another’s primary love language you can build a deeper relationship. Usually Love languages are generally discussed in terms of romantic relationships, but it seems to me the concept could be extended to non-romantic, familia love as well.

The five love languages are:
– Words of Affirmation (the platonic relationship version might be praise)
– Acts of Service (making their favorite breakfast)
– Reviving Gifts (new toys)
– Quality Time (building puzzles together)
– Physical Touch (rocking, holding, hugging, etc)

The girls are both still pretty young. I’m not sure if they’re love language is a reflection of who they are as a person, or where they are in their development. I’d expect all babies respond best with physical touch, for example. But I hope that exploring love languages can make me a more responsive parent who adapts to what each child needs.

Figuring out Nicole’s love language was pretty easy. She’s always loved her quality time, especially one-on-one quality time with mommy. I think it helps her feel overall more secure. Getting one-on-one Mommy attention can get a little tricky when you have a sibling. When we keep up with the quality time, however, she seems more secure and is less like to seek attention later by acting out.

Alexis’ primary love language is a little harder to deduce. She gets one-on-one quality time by virtue of being the youngest and less independent, and because she’s less independent Mommy and Daddy do more things for her. It’s part of being two years old. My guess, though, is that she feels most secure with physical touch. Lately she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and call us into her room so she can have an extra goodnight hug and kiss. After she receives said kiss she always says “Thank you, Mommy! Good night.” It’s adorable, although a little exhausting.

One thing I’ve noticed about the love languages is that jealousy is more likely to show up if we give a one child’s love language to the other. Obviously Alexis still needs one-on-one quality time, and Nicole needs to be held and cuddled at times. But now that we know what can trigger the jealousy, we can be a little more prepared for it.

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