I often buy fun treats or trinket toys and give them to one of my children to give to their siblings, adding their own ‘creative flair’ to communicate love. For example, my oldest made some lovely notes for her siblings and put some sweet treats on their beds for them to come home to after school. I believe that by assisting them with ideas that communicate love to one another, they are strengthening their sibling relationships and learning how to communicate love to their friends, future spouse, and their children someday. I want them to be people who know how to love well!
HELPING KIDS LOVE
- Love Tanks, Sibling Connection
Testimony from a mom in our online Kingdom parenting class: “Kids were arguing, and I felt led to ask what he thought Jesus wanted him to do now. He just walked over to his sister and started talking to her! It wasn’t manipulation or guilt or shame but freedom because he did everything from listening to Papa instead of me! I want more of this! Thank You, Holy Spirit!”
From the time Ellie was itty-bitty, she would ask me to buy her stuff. I am not a materialistic girl, and the best way to get me to save money is to give it to me because I won’t spend it. I am frugal to the core. Her requests bothered me, and I began to view her as materialistic. I spent countless hours training her to stop asking for things as I saw it as a character issue. One day I realized, oh my goodness, gifts were her love language. All those times, I pushed her away and scolded her when she was not really asking for the toy but wanting to feel loved. I came to her in tears and repented. She smiled the biggest smile, finally feeling understood. Now when she asks, I see it as my clue that she needs some lovin’. If I have to say “No” to her, I assure her of my love and that she means the world to me, though I am not able to buy her that item right now. I handle the request with much more sensitivity than I did before. I also proactively look for ways that I can give her little gifts. It is never the price tag that matters to her; it is the love through it. I am often leaving little things on her bed with a note attached. The other children only have a problem with it when their tanks are low. When their tanks are full to overflowing, they have no jealousy or sense of injustice that their sister is getting more gifts than they are.
“My son turned five last week. His primary love language is words of affirmation. So, I had an idea to make a little ‘guest’ book for everyone coming to his birthday party. I had everyone write something to him – one thing they love about him. After his party, we sat and read everyone’s words to him – he loved it! No birthday meltdowns. Just told me at the end of the night, ‘My love tank is overflowing!'”
Perhaps one of the greatest ways you can increase peace and love in your homes is to speak your child’s love language and empower siblings to do the same with each other.
I will be honest with you and say that two of my children’s love languages are easy for me; I speak their language with ease and fluency. Yet two of them have unnatural languages, even a little annoying to me at times. I started learning more about love languages when I became a single mom, and I assure you the LAST, the very last thing this mama wanted to do was to be childlike and play a game to get that quality time in. Ugh! It was almost painful for me to speak their language of quality time, especially since I was already with them 24/7, non-stop. But my children mattered to me, and God has entrusted me to steward them well. I was learning to lay ME down to fill THEM up. I am a good representative of A SIDE of Jesus, but Jesus has many sides, and my children allow me to become more like Him and walk in greater love as I let their NEEDS grow me into being more like Jesus. John 15:13-14 (TPT) – “For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends.”
Many, many times when there is conflict in my home, it is because their love tanks are low with each other. While it would be so much easier to just separate the two ‘offending siblings,’ what they REALLY need is connection. When I see this is an issue, I will ask the child what their brother/sister’s love language is and ask what they can do to fill it and vice versa. The older they get, the more I solve sibling issues this way than anything else. Disconnected kids act like kids starving for attention!
When all my children entered formal school for the first time, it was a huge deal for them. They got inundated with many new things all at once. My goal for the two weeks leading up to it was simply focusing on their love tanks. The more they experience love at home, the more they will be able to handle what comes their way. Isn’t that true for you? Are you a better parent on the days when you and your spouse have conflict and are feeling detached? I bet not. Love languages matter!
We were at the pool one day, and Hudson sneaked up behind Emma, who was sitting by the edge, not wanting to get wet. He motioned to me if he could throw her in. I responded, “You can, but will it help your connection with her?” He took a second to realize the joy of the victory would not be worth the splash it would make in their connection. I have taught my children over and over and over that the way they treat each other today will affect tomorrow. It may feel ‘good’ to be powerful today, but tomorrow you will reap the fruit of a low account with them.
This may surprise you, but not getting along, striving to be first, seeking their own way, being demanding, and focusing all on themselves is NORMAL for every child. It is called living in a fallen world. As Christians, we believe in harnessing our natural fleshly desires and learning to partner with the character qualities of heaven, such as power, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (James 4:1-10 & Galatians 5:17).
We all need touch, but for those who have the language of touch, it is super easy to fill their tank!
Here are some creative ways to speak their language: **Put your hand on their shoulder when speaking to them. **Give them a two-minute back rub when putting them to bed. **Start their day with a long embrace. **Hug them every time you leave/return home. **Hold their hand while walking. **Hold them when they are upset. **High-five those successes. **Create a special handshake. **Cuddle with them before bedtime. **Let them snuggle with you while watching a movie. **When driving reach back and hold their hand. **Sit next to them when eating out. **Hold their head when you hug them. **Give them random kisses on the forehead. **Hold them while reading a book. **Tickle their knee. **Play with their hair.
Just because you have teens does not mean they have outgrown their language. Teens need physical touch, too.