We love our adult children.
We care for their welfare.
We want only the best for them.
Sometimes, when we often try to express that love, our words and actions come off as nagging, patronizing, cajoling, or bribing instead of loving our dear ones.
HOW CAN THAT HAPPEN? WE ARE PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL ATTEMPTING TO COMMUNICATE OUR LOVE TO YOUNGER ADULTS OF GOOD WILL.
Gary Chapman in his famous The 5 Love Languages instructs folks to speak our love to our spouses and children in their own primary love language.
When we love folks and attempt to express that love in some way other than their love language, the exercise simulates speaking our love to them in Chinese. They hear it but they don’t understand it. They cannot interpret our words of affirmation, our physical touch, our quality time, our acts of service or our giving of gifts as loving acts. They may instead actually interpret them as flattery, smothering, helicoptering, or even attempting to buy their love and affection.
We can speak it louder, longer, with more words or actions but if we are speaking in the WRONG love language our messages of love will not get through.
Do you know what your child’s love language is? I STRONGLY suggest that you take the Five Love Language test on www.5lovelanguages.com.
According to Chapman, we all have a ‘native tongue’ which communicates love to us. If we go as ambassadors to a foreign country naturally, we would take the time to learn at least some of the language. We would want to make sure that we are communicating LOUD AND CLEAR so our message is understood.
As the parents of adult children we may have been duped into believing that our kids do not need this specific love language anymore. We act as if they are now suppose to be fluent in every dialect of “I love you” known to man.
Nothing is further from the truth. Obviously as adults they can RATIONALLY say, “Of course, my parents love me.” And as 20-somethings and 30-somethings they may not be as prone to throwing tantrums which ends in door slamming and yells of “You don’t even love me.”But, not for one minute should we forget that they need to FEEL the love that we have for them.Feeling loved becomes even more important in the ADULTHOOD of our children. Why?
- They are being asked to fill the love tanks of others now—their spouses, significant others, and possibly our GRANDCHILDREN, AKA their kids.
- They are living BUSY adult lives and are not as free to spend time and resources cultivating the love relationships they once had with us as their parents or their spouse—the two tiers of folks who are most RESPONSIBLE to fill up their love tanks.
THEREFOREthey NEED to give away more love (and fill others love tanks) even while having less time, resources, and emotional power to cultivate their own love tanks.
This is why SPEAKING THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE IN A DIALECT THEY UNDERSTAND IS EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHEN THEY WERE YOUNG.
Do yourself a favor— get them to take the test and learn their love language.