(Below are Nicole's thoughts on Chapter 7 of The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D. Please know that what we all learn from a study is usually different. We encourage you to share what you've learned as well in the comment section below the post. We'd love to hear from you.)
Now that we've learned what each of the five love languages are, we need to discover what are children's love languages are. For children with autism, it may be a little more difficult for us to figure this out right away.
Below are the things the authors wrote which impacted me the most out of Chapter 7:
* As we speak love in the five languages, all the while specializing in her language of love, we show her how to love others and her own need to learn to speak others' love languages. (p. 98)
* What happens when we speak all five love languages? We teach our children to love others with all the love languages. (p. 98)
* Discovering your child's love language is a process; it takes time, especially when a child is young. (p. 99)
* While you need to look for your child's primary language, you also need to keep in mind that children go through stage in loving, as they do in everything else. (p. 100)
As I mentioned in previous posts, it is very important that if you have not done so already, please read each chapter in it's entirety. These are just the points that meant the most to me. In Chapter 7, we learn how to discover our children's love language. What I did not include above is two very points in our to discover your child's love language. The first is five step way of discovering it. The second is by using choices. The third is a fifteen-week experiment. All three have excellent ways of discovering your child's love language.
I want to focus on one thing in particular. Throughout this entire book, we've heard the author mention something important. When it comes to discovering a younger child's love language, we need to shower them with all five love languages in order to find out what one speaks to them the most. I believe the same goes for our children with autism. We need to show them all five of the love languages and watch closely as to which one speaks to them the most. Watch their facial expressions. Look for signs of anxiety afterwards or calmness. Take notes and really try to find out how to express your love to them. Once we discover their primary love language, we can teach others this as well. Which will only help in so many social situations that are currently overwhelming.
Let me give you an example. As mentioned before, I have twin boys. One with autism. My son who doesn't have autism is desperately struggling on ways to connect with his brother. He'll make him gifts, try to play with him, help him clean up his room, and even wrestle with him. Imagine if we knew his love language…he could immediately use that love language in different situations to show him how much he loves him, which would help decrease any anxiety, increase the trust and decrease the stims. This would eventually lead to more social gains and social language. Right? First, we need to find his love language. (Yes, we are still trying to discover his primary love language by showering him with all five. Which is pretty neat because it's teaching me to show my other son and even my husband all five love languages.) Let's just say that his love language is Words of Affirmation. All he needed to hear is "Great job! I'm so proud of you! You kicked that ball really hard!" from his brother. If we knew this at the moment, their relationship would be stronger than ever right now. But we don't know what it is. So we keep learning how to show him more of the five love languages as best as we can in hopes that one day soon we will learn the best way to show him how much we love him. Then, his brother can use the same love language to deepen their bond.
Chapter 7 is a very important one to read. The authors do an excellent job with describing each of the different ways of discovering your child's love language.