New Years Resolution. To do or not to do, that is the question?
I spoke to several people of varying ages on their thoughts about making a New Year’s Resolution. The conversations were mostly positive. “It’s a good way to start the year, thinking about me”. “It sounds silly but I look forward to thinking about what I want to focus on in the year.” As people spoke I kept thinking about hope. Hope by definition is a desire for something to happen. However, I recently read in Brene’ Brown’s book Daring Greatly that C.R. Synder explained hope as a way of thinking. He talks about hope being something you can develop and learn. These are 3 components.
Taking these aspects of hope into the year is a way of thinking about resolutions. Resolutions are about wanting to make a change, and moving towards that goal. It was interesting to hear many people say that they often forget about their resolution by February. It can be hard to remember the resolution and it gets forgotten.
4 helpful tips in giving hope to your resolution:
Here are a few of my favorites quotes.
Wonder Women : “You are stronger than you believe. You have greater powers than you know.”
Neil Gaiman: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.”
Brene’ Brown: “Be willing to let go who you think you should be in order to be who you are.”
Coach John Wooden: “You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”
Oprah Winphrey: “You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.”
Maya Angelou: “If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it change your attitude.”
A New Year’s resolution is about hope and joy. It’s also about improvement and growth of the self. What is your resolution? Who have you told about it? What is your favorite motivating quote?
Take a moment and think of a time when a conversation with a partner or friend did not end well. Maybe you thought they were overreacting, or that they shouldn’t be upset about the situation. You offered them advice, and a different way to problem solve, yet they left more frustrated. Maybe you even remember being on that side of a conversation and feeling unheard. Most of the time you didn’t ask for advice or an opinion. So, what was missing from your conversation and why didn’t it end well? It’s usually because there was limited or no empathy, and this is crucial as a foundation in any relationship.
“Empathy is a special way of coming to know another and ourself.” (Carl Rogers)
Emotional experts often define empathy as an ability to sense the other person’s emotions while imagining what they might be thinking. To imagine what someone else might be thinking means that I must sense what I am thinking and feeling. Empathy is considered a link between two people, the knowing that we are not alone, and the feeling of deep connection.
So how does someone become empathetic?
People are born with different degree’s of empathy and as you grow it is nurtured by others. When someone shows you empathy your capacity for being empathetic increases. Empathy starts off as a small seed then blossoms into a beautiful flower as you are in relationship with others. This applies to children but also as adults we can continue to nurture our capacity to be empathetic.
Why does one person’s capacity for empathy vary from another?
In order to understand how someone else is feeling first you have to know how you are feeling. If that is difficult then your capacity to sense someone else’s emotions is going to be difficult.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started:
Click below and watch the wonderful animated video by Dr. Brene' Brown on empathy.
written by guest blogger Dr. Jenna Meyerberg, Ph.D, LPC
“Facebook is for old people.”
At 31, I was not prepared to be called “old” by a teenager. But, maybe she had a point. I remember how excited I was to receive my college email address because it meant that I could finally sign up for Facebook, a social networking site that was initially created for college students to connect. With my Facebook account I was able to find out who else was living in my dorm, who I had classes with, and make friends within my cohort before even stepping foot on campus. In the years since it started, Facebook has evolved into a much different site. No longer exclusive to college students, even my 83 year old grandma has a Facebook account, allowing her to brag and boast about her grandchildren’s accomplishments. In fact, opening Facebook up to non-college students created a virtual brag-board; users can learn about their friends who just closed on a house or a cousin who recently received a job promotion. They can see who lost weight, who reached their goals, and who thrives in their life. Although some people do post about the tragedies in their lives, Facebook does provide the opportunity to allow others to see only what you want them to see, which is most often a positively skewed version of life. Despite most of us recognizing this trend, we continue to log into Facebook and submit ourselves to countless posts of friends and family bragging about how wonderful their lives (apparently) are.
Since its inception in 2004, people have speculated how Facebook might change not only the way we interact and relate to one another, but how it might impact the way that we feel. Not long after the social media boom of the early 2000s, many people noticed having negative feelings after using Facebook. Anecdotal reports of depression and anxiety connected to social media use surfaced and researchers set out to uncover the reasons why. Over nearly two decades of research, a striking pattern emerged: people did feel more depressive symptoms after using Facebook, but only when their Facebook experience first made them feel envious. That is, people who went on Facebook and felt envy toward their friends, either desiring what they had or believing their friends were happier or more successful, reported feeling depressive symptoms. Those who did not feel envy while using Facebook did not experience this depression.
The research on social media has come a long way over the years and has recently begun to include networking apps such as Instagram. Researchers are still learning about the nuanced effects that social media use has on people’s emotional well-being. But a few gaps still exist in the research on Facebook; virtually no studies examined authentic Facebook newsfeeds, as most opted to create mock posts for participants, and very few studies examine the possible benefits of Facebook use. One recent study addresses these gaps and sheds light on how Facebook use may not impact everyone the same way.
As one of the first studies to utilize a controlled, experimental method with participants’ own Facebook accounts, my study focused on the experiences of both malicious and benign envy while using Facebook. Malicious envy is the more traditional view of envy; it is the desire to want what another person has. Malicious envy is a deleterious experience also characterized by frustration and motivates individuals to not better themselves, but to hinder or put down the object of envy. Benign envy is the experience of admiring another person, even though one desires what that other person has accomplished and may feel inferior or frustrated. Benign envy motivates “leveling up,” or improving oneself be closer to the object of envy. Experiences of benign envy have largely been ignored by research on Facebook, and so my study provided a richer snapshot of participants’ Facebook experience.
Six hundred and seventy five participants, ranging from 18 to 79 years of age and across educational backgrounds and ethnicities, completed surveys of their personality traits, positive and negative emotions, state self-esteem, and feelings of benign and malicious envy. They then logged into their Facebook accounts and spent several minutes looking through their newsfeed, which is a list of updates from their Facebook friends. Participants described viewing posts relating to life goals such as vacations, life milestones, weight loss, and careers, as well as politically driven posts and funny pictures. After spending time viewing their Facebook newsfeed, they completed surveys of positive and negative emotions, state self-esteem, and benign and malicious envy.
Regardless of what participants viewed on Facebook, their reports of both positive and negative emotions decreased, indicating a report of feeling fewer emotions at the end of the study than when they began. This may suggest a numbing effect of Facebook, or users possibly detaching emotionally after using the social networking site. When it comes to feelings of envy, participants reported feeling more malicious envy over the course of the study, no matter what they saw on their Facebook newsfeed. Interestingly, when I explored the results for men and women separately, clear differences emerged. Men reported feeling more benign envy than women, that positive and motivating experience of envy, while women reported feeling more malicious envy than men. More research is needed to help understand these reported differences in how men and women experience envy when looking at others’ posts on Facebook, though the results of this study suggest that women experience more negative envy when engaged with Facebook than their male counterparts.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, it is my job to help my clients gain insight into the challenges in their lives, find strengths and resources to cope with these challenges, and ultimately find ways to improve their emotional well-being. My study sheds light on the way Facebook may help or hinder these goals outside of the therapy room. Emotional numbing can be a dangerous coping skill, stifling our feelings and pushing them away rather than dealing with them. Women may be more susceptible to the negative impact of envy than their male counterparts. This information can be invaluable for adults wishing to change their habits, as well as for parents who are concerned with their children’s use of social media. Even if Facebook is for us old folks, the latest app is bound to have its own effects on users and knowing how it may impact us can help prevent deleterious effects.
Dr. Jenna Meyerberg is an LPC and PhD, and specializes in working with children, teenagers, and families. She is the owner of Meyerberg Counseling, LLC in Parlin, NJ and a therapist at Developing Wellness Therapy Group, LLC in Brick, NJ. To learn more about her practice or how to work with her, please visit her website: http://bit.ly/2qj9YjN
Guest Blogger: Emily Lowenfels, LCSW
Take a moment…pretend there is a light shining in directly in your eyes and you have to look away. Or maybe you are walking through a lunch room and everyone is laughing but you don’t know why and aren’t in on the joke. Or you get scared of a bee that won’t leave you alone so you keep jumping/dancing/screeching until it flies away. Or imagine an alarm goes off in your office and it’s so loud you have to cover your ears and shut your eyes…. After imagining these things, you may now have an inkling of what it’s like to be on the Autistic Spectrum.
I am a LCSW/therapist, with a practice focused on children, youth, young adults and their families. I have been in the helping field in some shape or form for almost 15 years. I didn’t always know that I would end up on the LCSW path, just like I didn’t know I would become so passionately enthralled by the Autistic community. Early on, while interning for my Music Therapy Bachelor’s degree, I was assigned to a low functioning Autistic classroom. I was young and judgmental and couldn’t understand the excitement of when one of the students lifted his finger and responded to a teacher’s question via an electronic device. I remember thinking, what is the value in this and why is everyone so excited for this individual who appears to have a low quality of life. What I failed to realize at the time, was that I bore witness to a momentous event in not only the boy’s life but also all those involved in his care and education. However, now I see this experience as a defining moment that led me down the path to becoming a therapist who specializing in developmental disorders, like Autism.
While writing this piece, I have coincidentally been watching a show on Netflix called “Atypical” which showcases a teenage boy with Autism. The title is a play on the fact that individuals who do not have Autism are often referred to as “neurotypical.” If you want to see how a high functioning child with Autism experiences life, it does a pretty solid job of portraying the daily struggles in a realistic manner. However, it’s important to understand that not all individuals with Autism function in such a manner. There is much diversity within the Autistic community.
One of the most fascinating things I have learned from working with such a special part of the human population is that Autism presents itself uniquely in every single individual diagnosed on the Spectrum. It still surprises me that each child (and adult) I have had the pleasure of meeting and or working with presents completely different, yet the collection of characteristics can be grouped together. Some of these characteristics may be: lack of eye contact, self-soothing techniques, being literal, and missing social cues. One of the signature characteristics of Autism is that lack of eye contact. An individual may never look at you when engaging in conversation or may look at you intermittingly but constantly looking away. A main way for individuals with Autism to self-sooth is to use a “stimming” technique which can present in so many ways. I’ve seen hand flapping, vocal stimming like humming, teeth grinding, yelling out or screeching, jumping, spinning… there are countless ways to stim. Another commonly known characteristic of Autism is being literal. If you were to make a comment to an individual with Autism, like “get out of here”, when hearing something amazing or unbelievable, he or she (or they) will take it literally and may walk out of the door. You may find yourself constantly clarifying your previous statements. The jackpot of Autism characteristics, is misunderstanding social cues. Individuals with Autism have a very difficult time relating to others in a typical fashion and may not read body language, your comments, and facial expressions appropriately. ASD can hinder one’s ability to discern when someone wants to be a friend or when someone is making fun of him or her (they).
This is where I come in. As a Children & Family Therapist, I work with children through individual and group settings and provide parent support and counseling for children of special needs. Many of the groups I run are social skills focused and I utilize play therapy, creative arts, and just about any medium I can realistically provide in a session to help with engagement. It is my goal to take each individual’s uniqueness and nurture it within each session.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you a glimpse of Autism. It is my hope that providing more awareness and understanding, that the stigma of Autism may change from being a gut wrenching diagnosis to one of more acceptance of human differences.
Emily Lowenfels is an LCSW, Certified in Children, Youth, & Families, Lead Facilitator and owner of FIGURE 8 THERAPY CENTER in Morganville, New Jersey. To contact Emily here is her website www.figure8therapy.com and email Emily@figure8therapy.com.
Guest Blogger: Melissa Delizia, MSW, LSW
Most of the time, I forget to take care of myself. I get so absorbed in making sure everyone else is okay and taken care of that I let my own needs slip away without showing them any love or attention. I even work at a store called SELF CARE COVE, and still often forget to practice what I preach. I’ve learned in the past year or so that no matter how much I want to help or take care of others, I cannot put anything above the need to take care of myself.
Not that long ago, I had one of the worst panic attacks of my life. It started with a small thing triggering me & quickly escalated into my brain telling me i was dying & my body trying to compensate. Panic attacks are unique, and present differently for different people. for me, I cry, I shake, my arms, legs, & face go numb, my breathing becomes really shallow and uneven & I almost always think the worst is going to happen to me.
Despite this happening, I went on with my day and did all the things I had planned. I pretended it didn’t happen, but it did. It was real. My brain may have caused the physical symptoms but it was real. Despite knowing I wouldn’t die, in the moment it was hard to convince those intrusive thoughts otherwise.
Most people don’t know that I have anxiety & panic attacks and how serious it can be. I’ve been working on it for a long time now, despite hiding it well. But, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s not my fault, it’s not anyone’s fault. It happens and I get passed it & I’m still me.
Despite my panic attacks being out of my control, I don’t always take the time to care for myself the way I need to after one happens. I shouldn’t have gone on with my day, I should have listened to my body and rested and taken care of myself the way my body was begging me to. I was afraid I would let people down if I didn’t get up and go on with it like nothing had happened, but that was wrong.
As a kid, I felt like I was always taught to treat others the way I wanted to be treated, but was anyone ever taught how to treat ourselves? I want to start hearing kids be taught to say treat YOURSELF & others the way you want to be treated. Take care of your heart and soul and treat it as kindly as you would want others to treat it, or how kindly you might treat someone else.
Whenever anyone around me goes into a crisis situation or feels any kind of negative emotion, I’m the first one to get up and help. I do whatever it takes to help that person feel better, sometimes even at my own expense. Now, by no means is it a bad thing to want to help others, but something I always forget to do is help myself.
There is no way for me to be fully present and able to help others if I don’t help myself first. We can’t fill from an empty cup. We must be our best, fullest & most healthy selves in order to help others. This applies to everyone, parents, therapists, anyone in any helping profession, teachers, even kids. How can we expect anyone to be able to do what they’re supposed to do in their everyday lives if we don’t teach them that it’s just as important to take care of themselves (if not more important) as it is to take care of and be kind to others.
Here are some ways I take care of myself so I can be my best self.
1. Spend an hour of time (maybe even less) doing something by myself that is just for me. (getting my nails done, reading my favorite book, yoga class, sitting on the beach, meditation, etc.) This can be anything that makes you feel at home with yourself.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes states in Women Who Run With The Wolves (amazing read) that, “Home is a sustained mood or sense that allows us to experience feelings not necessarily sustained in the mundane world: wonder, vision, peace, freedom from work, freedom from demands, freedom from constant clacking. All these treasures from home are meant to be cached in the psyche for later use in the topside world. Although there are many physical places one can go to “feel” her way back to this special home, the physical place itself is not home; it is only the vehicle that rocks the ego to sleep so that we can go the rest of the way by ourselves. The vehicles through and by which women reach home are many: music, art, forest, ocean, spume, sunrise, solitude. These take us home to a nutritive inner world that has ideas, order, and sustenance all of its own.”
2. I pamper myself with things I feel I need at that moment. Most of the time, I head over to the self care cove (bethkaya.com/selfcarecove) and I spend a little money on whatever goodies I feel will help me take care of myself at that time.
3. When it feels right, I spend time with people who make me feel like myself. Those who encourage me rather than take my energy, it’s hard to find those people that support you in that way, and maybe this kind of thing won’t work for you (it definitely doesn’t always work for me) but if you find the right people this can be really powerful.
4. Journal your feelings, and make a list of everything you love about yourself & things or people you feel grateful for. A gratitude list. Keep this for the future & refer back or add to it whenever you feel you need to.
5. Make a schedule for self care. Add it into your busy calendar so that you don’t forget to practice it. It might feel silly in the beginning to write in your planner “take a bath” but I know for me, if it’s written down it’s a set plan and I have to follow through.
*Take these suggestions as they are, but most importantly, find what really works for you. take care of yourself! Make yourself a priority before your body forces you to do so. Treat yourself the way you treat others. Love yourself, nurture yourself, and take note of the difference within.
Melissa Delizia, MSW, LSW currently blogs at meditatingmermaid.wordpress.com. She also spends her time as a photographer and working at Self Care Cove located in Brick, NJ.
As my teenage son headed off for his first time at sleep away camp this summer, I knew that worry would show up. The situation was new, unfamiliar and there would be no contact between him and us for 2 weeks. I felt worry creeping up, and so did he. I sat with him about two weeks prior to the beginning of camp to help him brainstorm some ideas about how he was going to handle worry when it showed up at camp. We came up with a list of the worries about camp and then how he was going to handle the unknown and uncomfortable. I wanted to give him the opportunity to figure out what would work for him, and help him learn how to tolerate and cope with this new uncomfortable venture.
As September approaches, school will be starting and for some kids worry will show up. A child may talk about not wanting to go to school or avoid back to school shopping. In my practice as I work with clients I tell a child it’s normal to feel that way about school. However, we have to figure out together how to tolerate being uncomfortable and learn what to do when worry shows up. If we avoided all things we worried about we would have a very boring life and miss out on new experiences with friends.
It does not really matter what the child’s worry is, worry is predictable and often shows up the same way each time. It’s how we worry that’s important to understand. Worry shows up, tells you things that make you feel uncomfortable, or scared. If a child respond’s with avoidance of the situation or screaming and crying through it then learning does not take place.
Here are several tips to keep in mind:
These strategies can be applied to any situation. The key is to start now, don’t wait for worry to show up. Kids need to know that when a situation that comes that is unfamiliar to them they can handle it. Asking for help is handling it, trying different things that work and don’t work is handling it. Problem solving is not about doing it right all the time.
For additional information on these strategies Lynn Lyon's psychotherapist writes about it in her book "Anxious Kids Anxious Parents", which I highly recommend. For an additional back to school tips check out my blog article on 6 Ways To Ease Back To School Anxiety https://www.roselapiere.com/blog/archives/08-2017. If you are interested in ideas on how to help kids who refuse to go to school check out my webinar on a play therapy approach to school refusal. This workshop is geared for therapist or school counselors on how to develop a plan and use strategies when working with kids who refuse to attend school (2 APT non-contact hours, and 2 NBCC hours). Don't wait for the school year to start, get those interventions in place now. https://courses.jentaylorplaytherapy.com/courses/a-play-therapy-approach-to-school-refusal.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
Intuitively we know that music has an effect on our mood. Have you ever watched a mother singing a lullaby to a baby, as she sings and sways the baby is mesmerized. Watching that interaction brings about a feeling of tranquility and calm. On the other hand, when working out music can transform your movement giving your energy and pushing you forward to keep going. Depending on your mood you may listen to music that will evoke more of the feelings that are stirring inside or less. Music can help us express what we cannot put into words. It can be an effective way to help us express feelings and cope with the challenges of life.
As a therapist I incorporate listening to music as part of working with clients. One way I do this is by asking a client to create a play list of songs in the session or out of the session that resonate with the them. Then we listen together and use it as a way to work through their experiences. The playlist usually has a variety of songs that evoke different feelings. Another way to explore music is to draw while listening because a deeper meaning may emerge. Explore what feelings were evoked and how the drawing or lyrics may reflect those feelings. It’s important to keep in mind when you are listening to music that it can evoke strong negative emotions. Therefore, I will purposely switch to music that will offer a client a chance to move into a song that will close down those strong emotions and offer a calmer state.
Not sure what to play here is a playlist from Alexa.
Or check out this song list.
Happy-Walking On The Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves & Happy by Pharrell Williams.
Sad-When She Loved Me by Sarah Mclachlan & Crying by Roy Orbison.
Angry-Wrecking Ball By Miley Cyrus & We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister.
Scared-Thriller By Michael Jackson & Under Pressure by Queen, David Bowe.
Which song got your foot tapping, or body swaying? Which song made you think of a happy or sad memory? Notice the music you listen to throughout the day, what does it mean to you?
Compile a list of your go to songs to help you move through your feelings. Music is very personal and what one person may love another may not. Find the music that resonates with you whether it’s classical, rap, country, blues or pop any music can help you express your emotions and cope with negative feelings.
"Music is the shorthand of emotion” by Leo Tolstoy.
Comment below songs that evoke your feelings!
The creation of Mother’s day has an interesting history in the United States and this year marks the 100th celebration. The initiative to have an official Mother’s Day was driven by Anna Reeves Jarvis who in the 1900s spearheaded a holiday to celebrate the sacrifices mother’s make for their children. She herself never had children but her goal was for the holiday to be a celebration between families, mother’s and their children.
A few years after Mother’s Day became a holiday Anna Jarvis had noticed the increase in commercialism associated with Mother’s day. She was so upset by this that she started a campaign to get it removed from the calendar because she felt Mother’s Day had lost its purpose. She said, “To have Mother’s Day the burdensome, wasteful, expensive gift day that … other special days have become, is not our pleasure. If the American people are not willing to protect Mother’s Day from the hordes of money schemers that would overwhelm it with their schemes, then we shall cease having a Mother’s Day—and we know how.” As of 2017 the National Retail Federation list’s Mother’s Day as one of the top consumer spending holiday’s of the year, with spending close to $200.
As a therapist, I often spend a lot of time talking to clients about connection and relationship with important people in their life. In our culture, we are often driven to buy things to let people know we care about them. However, when you think of your favorite memories they aren’t about when you got new sneakers or a purse. Although you appreciate those things, favorite memories tend to be moments that we laughed or had an enjoyable experience with someone.
So consider Mother’s Day a reason to promote connection and relationship with a parent / caregiver / someone who made a sacrifice for you or an imprint on your life in a positive way. There are many different way’s we can offer to show appreciation to the mom in our life without spending a lot of money. Here is a list of ideas that promote connecting and building our relationship without spending a lot of money.
The best most memorable moments are the ones that you spend together; what kind of memory will you make this year?
As I watch my son play sports or perform in the theater I notice that I listen, cheer, and sometimes instruct from the sideline. However, I started to wonder over time what do my children need to hear or want to hear from me to keep them feeling good about what they are doing? As I started to step back I began to notice other parents shouting over the coach’s direction or yelling at the umpire, referee and coach. Kids look confused, or annoyed at their parents and need to make a choice. Do I listen to my parents or do I listen to my coach?
As my son gets ready to stand at the plate, I find myself noticing that I want to shout out ways he could hold the bat better or stand closer to the plate. Does he need me to give him feedback, and guidance or does he need encouragement? When I step back and watch, I see the coaches are instructing, correcting and teaching. So what is my role I wonder again?
But, what should we say to our kids so they feel good about participating in sports, recitals or shows? Remember when you were teaching your child to walk. You held their hand, maybe even moved their legs, encouraged them to grab onto things, they took some steps then grabbed on to you and then you let go. They did it, they walked, and they fell, and eventually started running. You cheered and were excited. You probably didn’t shout out multiple instructions, “heel first, then toe,” or “left foot out, then right,” or even “get up, get up, hurry,” if they fell. There is a pressure that begins to build onto our kids when they are constantly given critical feedback from every adult they face. I am pretty sure they don’t want to make an error or play the wrong note at their recital.
There is no greater love than what a parent has for their child and the success you want them to experience in life. But there has to be a balance in feedback both positive and negative. Overexcitement puts pressure on a child similar to critical feedback. It’s important to be encouraging, positive and present.
In an article written by Tim Elmore, he says that the “3 healthiest statements that moms and dads can say to their student-athletes are”:
Before the Competition:
Bruce Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive coaching did an informal survey of college athletes over decades. “ They asked the athletes what did their parents say that made them feel great and overwhelming response was I love to watch you play.” Wow, that’s it. “Six simple words,” that made such an impact.
As you sit on the sideline know that just saying these simple words is more likely to keep your child’s passion going. As I teared up after watching my son’s performance, knowing how hard he worked and how nervous he was I found myself saying aloud to him when it was over, “I love to watch you perform.” He looked up at me, smiled, hugged me super tight and said, “Thanks mom.”
Love. Family. Relationships. How do you feel most connected to your child? Is it from a hug, a special dinner made for you, a small gift, or a compliment? The language of love can seem so simple to express, yet can go unnoticed from those around you.
Parents deeply love their children but schedules are busy and sometimes the day goes by and we haven’t connected to our little loved ones. Life events change the family schedule and can impact the amount of time you have to spend together. Maybe you went from working part-time to full-time, or you are going through a divorce, or there is an illness in the family. These changes impact the way you interact and spend time with your child. You are tired when you come home, you have more things to fit in before bedtime and there is a feeling of being emotionally depleted. Over the course of months your children will notice and feel the difference.
A book written by Gary Chapman, PH.D and Ross Campbell MD called “The Five Love Languages of Children” emphasizes understanding your child’s love language and then nurturing it to fill their “emotional tank”. The authors discuss that there are five love languages that children and adults need nurtured in order to be confident and stable emotionally.
The following is a list of the five love languages and activities you can do to help your children have a full “emotional tank” so that they can thrive.
Words of affirmation: Giving your child compliments, or encouraging words that are spoken or written. Leave a note for your child in their lunch box or a note on their mirror. Send a text message or emoji. Say things like “ I love you,” “you’ll do great on your test”, or “your smart”. For the month of February I will take a sticky note and everyday leave a compliment to my child and stick it on their bedroom door.
Quality Time: Doing things together with no interruptions, one-on-one time, taking trips, going on walks, being together at home and not being interrupted, playing keep it up with a balloon or one on one conversation in the car. Telling them “I’d like to spend time with you today let’s pick something you want to do”. Television/video games not included.
Receiving Gifts: Giving small tokens of a material gift. Giving a sea shell, stone(draw a picture on the stone), a facial expression that shows genuine love, giving time, or remembering a special occasion. Attending an event your child is in or making a desert together.
Acts of Service: On going helpfulness, whether chores or fixing something that is important to the child. Helping them with homework, sewing their stuffed animal or fixing flat tire on their bike. You can say things like “What can I do for you?” or “Today, I did… for you.” “Would you like me to try and...”
Physical Touch: Facial expressions that are warm and inviting, hugs, high-fives, fist bump, sitting close, and a group hug (the family pet is fun to snuggle, too). Sitting close and reading a book together. A sweet massage with an essential oil. It’s any kind of positive physical contact.
The authors discussed that every child and adult has a primary love language that they prefer. However, it’s equally important to continue to give in the other areas too so that the child feels the parent’s heartfelt love. Be curious about which love language would best describe what your child needs and how does that compare to what you give?