This weekend, I got to enjoy a book that a family psychologist gifted to me: The 5 Love Languages of Children by Drs. Chapman & Campbell. I’m hoping to have her talk about this a bit when she comes on my new tv show, Making It Last, which will start airing this month. For all parents out there, I highly recommend this quick read, and the best endorsement I have is really my own experience with my son, who asked me about the book.

The basic concept is that we each have a way we express love, and also how we receive it.  Some of us care about quality time, for others gifts are important.  Some care about positive affirmation, while others pay more attention to little acts of kindness.  And then there are those that place the most emphasis on touch.  The key is to not just know your love language, but also to know that of your loved ones.

When I explained the love languages to my son, I clued him into my top two favorites– touch and quality time. He thought about it and clued me into his, which is gifts.  I already suspected as much based on my observations. Then we talked about the importance of learning the love language of our loved ones so we can make sure they are receiving the message that we love them. I also relayed to him that the book stated that at a certain age boys will not want public expressions of affection from their mothers, and that I have thought about it and prepared myself to deal with that reality whenever he felt it was time. Turns out, that time has come so we agreed on a fist bump as our public sign of affection, and after a few tries, I had it down.

Today, I did the fist bump in the morning as he headed off to camp, and all was good. When we got home in the evening, I went to fix him a snack, and out of no where he came to give me a hug and spend some time with me. Amazing– I heard him and he heard me!  This confirms, that although I may be less involved in his academics these days, I along with every other parent willing to put in the time, can pass onto the next generation the gift of love.

We all need to learn that conflict is a normal part of life, especially when you have two completely different personalities living under one roof, but by communicating our feelings and being open to options, we can work out our differences and enjoy unconditional love from our families. All I can say is that it is never too late to learn new things– thank you Drs. Chapman & Campbell!