“My child pushes away when I try to hold her (hug) at the end of the day and especially when she is upset.“ (Child age 6).
The Love Languages is a developed theory and has even been applied to children. But parents want to know how to figure out which way truly fits their children? How to make appropriate observations and apply the “correct” response at the “correct time.”
Jennifer is 6 years old. Her parents typically rush to her aide when she falls, they hold her and move quickly to ensure she is safe. But, Stephanie has a different response to her parents. Instead of viewing their quick and direct measures as a way to feel secure, she pulls away from them. She will push, scream louder, and even find ways to hide when she is hurt.
The Love Languages include Touch, Words, Quality Time, Gifts, and Service. Stephanie was actually receptive to touch but HOW was the most important piece.
When her parents saw her reaction they at first increased their approach and tried to get to her quicker. Then with all the upsets they decided to ignore her when she fell and just go about their day.
Stephanie reported that she wanted hugs but her parents were not interested. Communication was clearly needing to be reset.
In therapy we worked to identify each persons needs and preferences. We explored, in movement, various timing, directionality, and weight of body interactions. Each family member communicated stories/memories of preferences and non-preferred interactions. Together they worked to identify a need for slowing down before embracing, using eye contact to indicate facial cues, and emotional regulation. Ultimately, they all communicated clearly and Stephanie got the much needed and appropriate support she responded to.
Do you know of a child who could use support? Everyday I work with children of all ages and their families to help them improve their communication, understanding and connections. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (310) 966-0700 to schedule your time.
Please Note: These stories are based on real moments but all names, ages, and identifying information has been changed to ensure confidentiality and safety for all individuals involved. The events are a composite of related scenarios used to illustrate the work; bringing understanding to the benefits of supporting children through a mind/body connection.