by Dr. Gary Chapman
During infancy, a child does not distinguish between milk and tenderness, between solid food and love. Without food a child will starve. Without love, a child will starve emotionally and can become impaired for life. A great deal of research indicates that the emotional foundation of life is laid in the first eighteen months of life, particularly in the mother/child relationship.
The 'food' for future emotional health is love expressed in five ways: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Speak all five languages to your child the first eighteen months and you are laying the best possible foundation for emotional health.
Do you know your child's primary love language? What I discovered years ago is that what makes one child feel loved, does not necessarily make another child feel loved. If you treat all children the same way in an effort to be fair, you are really not being fair at all.
I like to picture each child as having an emotional 'love tank'. If the tank is full, that is the child feels loved by the parents, then the child grows up normally. If the tank is empty, the child will grow up with many internal struggles. And, in the teenage years will go looking for love, typically in all the wrong places. Learning what fills your child's little love tank is one of the secrets to successful parenting.
Resources: "A Perfect Pet for Peyton" by Dr. Gary Chapman and Rick Osborne
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The Love Language Challenge: Jump Start Your Heart: http://lovelanguagechallenge.com/