2 Books that Changed the Way I See My Children
My four children keep me busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have three boys and one girl who demand much of my time and energy (both physical and emotional). Since I love to read, I try to pick up books now and then that may assist me in my endeavor to raise happy children who feel loved. In my reading, I have stumbled upon two books that do just that. Both of these books have dramatically helped me become a more patient and understanding mother.
The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. This lady categorizes children into what she calls “Energy Types.” According to her theory, each child has two dominant types. What I found helpful was not only the definition of each personality but her lists of how they are applicable to parents. She explains how to identify hidden messages in your child’s behavior and how to help motivate them in a positive way.
The following lists are taken from Carol Tuttle’s book:
1. The Fun-Loving Child
The way they connect – social
Their needs – have fun, happy parents
Described as – lighthearted, friendly
2. The Sensitive Child
The way they connect – Emotional
Their needs – feelings heard, connected family
Described as – gentle, tender, mindful
3.The Determined Child
The way they connect – Physical
Their needs – new experiences with support from parents
Described as -busy, persistent, energetic
4. The More Serious Child
The way they connect – Intellectual
Their needs – respect, given and received
Described as – efficient, analytical, thorough”
When your child is acting out or having a tantrum, Carol Tuttle gives several questions for you to ask yourself. The questions differ for each energy type.
“Fun Loving Child –
Does my child feel overly controlled?
Has my child had too much alone time?
Is something in my child’s life too serious?
The Sensitive Child –
Does my child feel unheard or dismissed?
Have my child’s plans been ignored?
Is there something in my child’s life that is too intense?
The Determined Child –
Does my child lack enough physical outlets?
Has my child been told “NO” too often lately?
Is something in my child’s life too stifling?
The More Serious Child –
Does my child need to feel more respected?
Does my child need some time to reflect and focus?
Is something in my child’s life embarrassing?”
Isn’t that awesome?! These questions blew my mind when I read this book. Here are a couple examples of how this simple instruction changed the way I look at my children and assess their behavior.
Example – One of my sons started acting out much more than normal and I was having a hard time being patient with his disruptive and rude behavior. When I read this book, I instantly knew that he was a type 1, (Fun Loving). I realized that he was at home (with only his baby sister and me) far too often. He needed time to socialize with friends. I scheduled playdates with kids his age and went to the park with neighbors. We planned a social event about twice a week and it helped him tremendously. I saw an instant change in him. He needed to have friends. Now he talks about his friends at the dinner table instead of acting out!
Example – Another one of my sons is a type 4 (Serious). He asks a lot of questions that are important to him, has difficulty understanding sarcasm, and is careful in the decisions and choices he makes. He loves to show me his detailed Lego creations that he spends hours building. When he asks for my undivided attention while I am doing the dishes and I say, “oh I’ll be done in 15 minutes,” he will leave me and then come back in exactly 15 minutes. Since I know this about him, it is easier to give him the respect he desires. He used to become frustrated and angry more often before I learned of his “energy type.” He is a happier, more content child now that I know what types of things are important to him and how to meet his needs.
Some energy types need more one-on-one time with their parents while others need to play physical games or have more time out of the house socializing with friends. Some children need to be listened to more often while others want to be left alone on a daily basis. I guarantee that you will learn something from this book. There is something in this book for every parent.
The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. After he wrote this book, it was so popular he wrote several other books tailored to children, teens, singles and so on. It is pretty much the same stuff and you can get it all from this one book. He teaches there are five main ways a person can feel loved.
The following list of love languages and definitions is taken from Gary Chapman’s book.
“#1: Words of Affirmation Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
#2: Quality Time For those whose love language is spoken with Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
#3: Receiving Gifts Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
#4: Acts of Service Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
#5: Physical Touch A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.”
This book is incredibly versatile and can be used in every type of relationship: family, friend, or even co-worker.
I feel loved when someone gives me a thoughtful gift, kind notes, or honest praise. I have a child who feels loved when I praise him, and a good friend who feels loved when we spend uninterrupted quality time together. (Which means I have to put down my phone)
I also appreciate finding out what types of things my children really don’t care about. It has been so helpful to me to find out what each family member’s love language is. In a conversation I had the other day with a wonderful woman, she mentioned that every year she would invest much time and effort in making her husband’s birthday special… only to realize 30 years later that he really didn’t care about gifts at all. He just wanted to spend quality time with her.
Children have their own love languages and as parents, we often take that for granted. We sometimes assume that they should feel loved because of our acts of service towards them. I am a stay at home mom and am constantly serving my children by cleaning, doing their laundry, cooking meals, and helping them with their homework. None of my children feel especially loved because I do these things for them. To them, it is just my job as their mom. Unless your child’s love language is acts of service, they most likely won’t interpret all your hard work as showing love.
Once I discovered my children’s love languages, it changed the way I view and treat them. I now understand why certain things are important to them. I am also better able to express love for them in a way they will recognize, and respond to. I am able to show love for them in a way they feel loved.
You can download “The 5 Love Languages” as an e-book for free HERE
You can also take the test online HERE and find out what your most dominant love language is: