Get to know your Teen’s Love Language. Consistency is key.

Let’s talk about languages of love. Perhaps you’ve read the book ‘The Five Languages of Love,’ one of the many classics by Gary Chapman.
It’s an absolute cracker, first released in 1992 and is still going strong around the world today.

We know our innate need to receive and give love is a big ticket item in the human quest for ongoing health and wellbeing; mentally, socially, emotionally,  physically and spiritually. Love has large shoes to fill, so it makes sense we explore the wisdom of Gary Chapman and relate it back to teenagers, especially during teens’ most vulnerable and rapidly-changing time of their life. Consistency over quantity it key and this is important to keep in mind. Human happiness if  often built around routine, knowing  the things they love will happen often, they can grow to expect and look forward to them.

This is especially true for young people living between two homes. ‘Quantity’ in connecting, through love languages may not always possible, but consistency may be more possible and do-able. This ideal keeps family life and parent-teen relationships real.

Surfer teen boys talking on beach shore

The five language of love are:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality Time
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

Each language is a simple way to describe our preferred way to receive and show love. Neither is better or worse, good or bad, it is merely a system that feels right for us. I liken the 5 languages to 5 significant muscles in our body. Each has a role to play, but we obviously rely on some muscles more than others. So it’s often the case we have our favourite love language and our least favourite too.

As an example, here’s my love languages in order of preference:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Acts of service
3. Physical touch
4. Quality time
5. Receiving gifts

My son’s:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Physical touch
4. Acts of service
5. Receiving gifts

Being aware of your own preferences and that of your teenagers, is really helpful in maintaining family connection.

If you’re unsure of your teen’s love language, you can explore more here

We can help our teens by –

  1.  Having a conversation so they are aware of their primary love language. Knowledge is power which can lead to more self-awareness and regulation.
  2.  Reassuring that a crisis isn’t permanent. This too shall pass.
  3.  Normalising feelings of social disconnect which are usually appeased with hugs, closeness and touch.
  4.  Loving animals, cuddling fur friends can trigger the release feel good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin.
  5.  Using this time to explore and strengthen other love languages.
  6.  Using sensory tools to fill the ‘touch’ gap for now – weighed blankets, fluffy rugs and comforting personal items.

Young people especially, operate at their personal best when they feel safe
Tapping into our teenager’s love language can be as simple as:
Words of affirmation – tell them how well they are handing this uncertainty and how you have noticed them keep informed with up-to-date information.
Quality Time – make time to hang out together doing the thing you love. It doesn’t need to be an outing, it’s the togetherness that counts.
Receiving gifts – hot milo made the way you like it. Write in a card. Make their favourite meal.
Acts of service – send a reminder text. Help with homework. Help out if they are getting ready foe camp.
Physical touch – physical connection – hugs, lean in, hair rub, holding hands, wrestle, jumping on each other and having fun depending on the age of your teen..

This is a vital part of a teenager’s self-awareness journey. Understanding our love language is a skill we will never regret learning. It’s not instant or easy, but it paves the way to living a ROC solid life.

Have fun experimenting!

This idea is shared with teens in Claire’s book  ROC and RISE

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