The 5 Love Languages of Children: a book review

In the Evangelical tribe I grew up in, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman provided the idiom to talk about how each us receive and give love.  Because of our unique personalities and family of origin, we each have modes of expressing love which is particularly meaningful to us. For some it words of affirmation. Others feel particularly loved when you spend quality time with them.  Giving and receiving gifts is another ‘love language.’ Others feel loved through physical touch or acts of service.  My love language is gift giving (so keep them coming ;P ). Chapman’s original book has helped countless people understand their own love needs and how to best express love to their mates (and other loved ones) whose ‘love language is often different from their own.

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

I don’t typically read ‘spin-off’ books. The fact that there is a Love Language book for singles, men, children, teenagers etc, seems a little too much like “Chicken Soup for the Cat-Lover’s Soul.”  It is more of a marketing ploy than something you expect to say something new. But then I am the father of three very different children and thought that The 5 Love Languages of Children would provide me with some insights on how to love my children well.  I was pleasantly surprised by what I read inside. This is a great book.

While Gary Chapman and his co-author, Ross Campbell, M.D.,  say that it is impossible to identify a primary love language for kids under the age of five, and warns that love languages can change at various stages, I gained some appreciation for the uniqueness of my three year old needs and some understanding of my five year old. My two-year-old son is still a mystery.

Chapman and Campbell devote the first half of this book to describing the five love languages and how to recognize them in your children. In the last half of the book they describe how to discipline children, foster learning and help children manage their anger by responding to them in ways which ‘fill their love language’ when we give direction or correction. They also discuss some of the unique challenges of responding to a child’s love language for single-parent families and how modelling love languages in marriage helps your children.

This is a quick read with a lot of  insight.  Every involved parent loves their children (hopefully!); however not every child feels their parent’s love. This book helps parents understand their children and offers sage advice on how to nurture them in love.  My oldest daughter seems to have a primary love language of Quality Time and loves it when you spend time with her.  My almost four year old, I would guess has a preference for acts of service. She loves it when you do things for her in a way that her independent older sister never did. This helps me respond with greater patience when she has me help her with something she is quite capable of. And of course Chapman and Campbell also encourage parents to nurture your children to express each of the love languages to others.

But the most important chapters for me would be the chapters on discipline, learning and managing anger.  My kids are unique with different personalities and I have learned that what works with one kid will not work with the others. Certainly there is a lot I still need to discover about my children but like the original Love Languages book, this gives me some words to talk about it.

I recommend this book to parents. It may be a spin-off but it delievers the goods. I give this book four stars. : ★★★★☆

Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this fair and honest review.

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