Five Love Languages: Physical Touch

This weekend I began listening to the audiobook of “Five Love
Languages of Children,” a well-known Christian ‘self-help’ book about
raising well-adjusted kids. It is a book I have wanted to read for a
while, knowing that we’re getting into a tricky phase of the kids’
childhood: they are still young kids, but seeking independence in
small but important (to them) ways.

First up: Physical Touch – I’m a pro at this one

I know this one is important to my kids, and it’s an important one to
me, too. CB is a great snuggler, whether we are ready a book at night
before bedtime, or sitting on the couch watching “Doctor Who.” CG is
constantly hugging Denis and me, and has been known to be a bit overly
affectionate with strangers as well (insert eye roll here). As such,
this is definitely a love language for them.

I can say with great pride that I’m good at this one. I’m ALWAYS
hugging on the kids, kissing on them. I find myself reaching out to
pat CG’s head, or randomly running my finger along CB’s neck. The
kids and I went to see the play “Mary Poppins” on Sunday and I’d say
throughout 3/4ths of the show the kids were each holding one of my
hands.

I suppose I’m taking advantage of their willingness to let me bend
them over backwards and plant kisses on their necks, or help them wash
their hair during bathtime, or tickle their feet whenever they present
themselves. Because I know once CG reaches puberty she’ll want
nothing to do with me and everything from Denis. CB won’t want any
kind of public affection from me either (although I’m sure he’ll
tolerate it in our home where his friends can’t see me kiss him on the
cheek). And thinking of that prospect already saddens me. The past
6-7 years has already moved so fast – and all too soon we’ll reach the
point where I need to sneak in the physical affection with them where
I can.

But based on the chapter I listened to this morning, I’m doing all the
right things for them right now when it comes to physical affection.
Being physically demonstrative is an important way for young children
to know they are loved when they are still focused on that obvious,
outward display of love. Whether it’s a giant hug upon picking them
up from their after school program (right now CB almost knocks me down
when he races up to me for a welcoming hug), or a big kiss on the
cheek for no good reason, I know the kids love those things. And I
love doing them.

The key will be to remember as they get older that their need for
physical affection will change.

According to the book (and I can attest to this from watching teens at
various times in my life), as CG approached her teen years, she will
unknowingly crave positive physical affection from her father. So in
the next few years, it’ll be even more important for Denis to ramp up
the hugs and kisses he gives CG (sadly, at the very time in their
lives when some dads get weird about giving their pre-teen daughters
affection). But by giving her that unconsciously desired physical
acceptance and affection of his own, she won’t feel the need to get
that kind of attention from boys (a thought I dread).

As for CB, he’ll need to be macho in front of his friends at some
point, and getting kisses from his Mama is the last thing he’ll want.
I’ll miss that, because he’s SO affectionate right now. But, knowing
that he’ll still let me do it in the safety of our home is comforting.
Knowing that he’ll still want affection – but on his terms – is okay
with me. I can handle that. But I’ll admit – it’ll be all I can do
not to hug and kiss him in public. Because he’s just so darn cute
sometimes. But I don’t want to ruin his “street cred” with his
friends, either (who will all be doing the EXACT SAME THING with their
own moms).

And so I’ll continue doling out the hugs and kisses, knowing I’m on
track with this particular love language.

Next up: Words of Affirmation – wherein I get hit with the bombshell
that my kids probably yell at each other because I raise my voice to
them. Monkey see, monkey do, indeed.

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One comment

  1. Great post! I think the kind of affection you show your children is very much needed in the world. I didn’t get much affection growing up and I think it’s made me a little cold when it comes to physical affection so keep it up!

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