Your Child’s Love Language

Last night, my daughter, Madelyn, was telling us about the book she was reading called The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts I found it fascinating, but not for my relationship with my husband, as it was intended. I pretty much have him all figured out after almost three decades together. It resonated with me because of the potential it has to affect my relationship with my kids. Full disclosure, I haven’t read it yet, so some of my summary may not be dead on accurate, but this is what I learned from Madelyn.

There are 5 languages of love, and each of us have one that is predominant in our expression and reception of this most important emotion. When we “speak” a different language than our partner, or for our purposes here, our children, confusion and conflict can result. Similar to trying to communicate verbally to someone who speaks French when you only speak English, connecting and understanding is challenging. But, if we make the effort to learn what je t’aime beaucoup means, the relationship starts to be easier.

The five languages are:

  • words of affirmation
  • physical touch
  • receiving gifts
  • quality time
  • acts of service

It was surprisingly simple to immediately identify, for each of my kids, their language of love — except for my tricky middle, Lorelei, for whom I think there are two. This knowledge is something most parents have in their gut, but putting actual words to it is something I know will be valuable, whether I’m redirecting, correcting, consoling, encouraging, motivating or just simply showing affection. It opens my eyes to the most effective way to appreciate them and to let them know they are loved, and with five at home right now, I’m always looking for better efficiency;) I wish I had heard this before I released my parenting Audible, because it would’ve been so fun to explore from a parent-child angle, but I’m grateful to know it now. It helps me understand why it feels so right to be grateful for Madelyn’s constant helpfulness, Serena’s need to hug multiple times a day, Lorelei’s smile at being told how much we love her, Charlie’s happiness when just hanging out with Larry and me, and Shane’s willingness to jump up and take care of anything someone needs or wants. I’m a physical touch person, Larry swears I was a cat in a previous life, and I will keep hugging and kissing and cuddling as long as they will let me. Other than Serena, each of my kids is more fluent in a language different than mine, and I’m so excited to become multilingual in love, which is the single most important element to a happy home. When I speak, I’ll do so in a way they can understand, and when they speak, I will listen.

To hear other thoughts on making parenting easier, please check out my Audible Original, Take Back the House.

ADDENDUM: One of my friends told me today the authors wrote 5 Love Languages Of Children: The Secret To Loving Children Effectively, which I haven’t read, but would be great to pick up if you want to learn more!

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.