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Focus on the Family Broadcast

Best of 2022: How to Speak Your Child’s Love Language (Part 2 of 2)

Best of 2022: How to Speak Your Child’s Love Language (Part 2 of 2)

In this best of 2022 broadcast, Dr. Chapman helps parents understand their child’s primary and secondary love language to keep their son or daughter’s “love tank” filled and to strengthen the parent-child bond. Jean Daly joins the discussion to share personal examples from the Daly family.
Original Air Date: December 14, 2022

Dr. Gary Chapman: In every child, there’s an emotional love tank, you know, and if the love tank is full, the child grows up emotionally healthy. If the love tank is empty, then the child feels like, “They don’t love me.”

John Fuller: Dr. Gary Chapman was our guest last time on Focus on the Family talking about the need that every child has to feel loved and wanted. We’ll continue the conversation with him today about The 5 Love Languages of Children. And your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. I’m John Fuller and we’re also joined, Jim, by your dear wife.

Jim Daly: Yeah, it’s always good to have Jean in here. Uh, John, every parent has the interesting challenge of discovering the right language and, uh, and, you, you know, obviously to communicate their, hopefully, close to unconditional love to their child. It’s so important that children feel loved by their parents, but it can, uh, be stressful to do that at times ’cause you’re not always getting the response. Uh, maybe you have that sassy child that you don’t really feel like being unconditionally loving (laughs) toward. Uh, did you ever have that experience Jean?

Jean: (laughing).

John: (laughing).

Jim: Jeans nodding like yeah, yeah. That strong-willed kid. Uh, but today we’re gonna talk again with Gary Chapman, Dr. Gary Chapman. Uh, the conversation last time was good, I think it was engaging.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: And I would just encourage parents. This is parenting 101. Uh, I so wish that Jean and I woulda locked into this earlier than-

Jean: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … we did. So that’s why here at Focus we wanted, uh, to bring Gary to you to make sure that, uh, you’re applying these principles of the love languages in raising your kids. And if you’re a grandparent, get this for your adult child, your son or daughter-

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … who’s raising those beautiful grandchildren (laughing).

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: But it is a great way to-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … uh, to really, uh, lay the bedrock for parenting. So Gary and Jean, welcome back.

Dr. Chapman: Thank you.

Jim: It’s so good to have you.

Jean: Thank you. It’s great to be back.

Jim: It is. And, uh, Gary let me pick up from last time. We covered the first two love languages: physical touch and words of affirmation. The next three, uh, let’s just start with quality time. What does that communicate to a child? And again, I think this is one where I can fumble a bit, so you can chastise me.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: It’s, uh, quality time.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: So talk to both of us on this.

Dr. Chapman: So-

Jim: Lotta dads probably struggle-

Jean: Yeah.

Jim: … here.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, quality time is giving the child your undivided attention.

Jim: Yeah, that’s the problem (laughing).

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, in today’s world, we are multi-taskers, you know? So okay your kid’s talking to you and you’re on your computer, or you’re reading a magazine, and you’re listening but the, they don’t have your full attention and that’s not quality time. And so the child feels like, “Something on his computer is more important than I am.” Or if you’re talking to a child, and having a conversation and your phone rings, and you answer your phone again, to that child it says, “Somebody out there is more important than I am.” Now I understand some people have to be on duty, you know, and medical doctors and all. So you just say to the child, “Honey, this is an emergency but stay right here. I wanna finish our conversation.”

Jim: Hmm, yes.

Dr. Chapman: But you let them know that they have your full attention. That’s at the heart of quality time.

Jim: Now, uh, you know, kinda through dads on the, on the fire there.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: But Jean, let me ask you too as a busy mom … And, you know, some moms are working outside the home, they’re certainly working inside the home. And you’re spent and yet-

Jean: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you know, your kids need quality time. How’s that resonate for you as a busy mom?

Jean: Mm, yes. Well, let’s face it, there are not enough hours in a day when you have children in the home to get everything done, so we have to prioritize our time. And I found, you know, you just have to come up with creative ways and, and that’s why broadcasts like this and Dr. Chapman’s book, we have all these helpful resources to find creative ways to spend time with your kids. I can remember when, uh, s-, when Trent was young he loved playing talky toys, and the action heroes-

Jim: Mm-hmm, oh yeah.

Jean: … would interact with each other. And I really one day I watched the clock-

Jim: (laughing) I can remember this.

Jean: … I, I, I would’ve said I was spending 20 minutes with him every time I did that. And I watched the clock one day. One time it was three minutes but it was enough.

Jim: Yeah, it felt like 20. (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jean: It felt like 20. But it was, it was enough. But I think also finding, finding ways to do things that you want to do, uh, as well with your child may be spending time reading a bedtime story together or rubbing their back at night. Now I was thinking that spending time in the car counted as quality time, Dr. Chapman, and am I-

Jim: (laughing) yeah.

Jean: … am I mistaken about that?

Jim: You, you are the report card-

Jean: (laughing)

Jim: … queen. So does she get an A or an-

Jean: Oh-

Jim: … F-

Dr. Chapman: It all depends-

Jim: … in the car?

Dr. Chapman: … on what you do in the car (laughing).

Jim: All right, uh-huh (laughs).

Jean: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: They’re on their screen and-

Jean: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … you’re driving the car-

Jim: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: … it’s not all the time. But if there’s conversation going on-

Jean: Correct.

Dr. Chapman: … it’s quality time (laughing).

Jean: Well-

Dr. Chapman: Yes.

Jean: … and, and, you’ve mentioned and, uh, with that time in the car with your children, not asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no, so open ended questions or questions that can be answered with, “Fine.” But I did use that time in the-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: … car.

Jim: She’s a good student.

Jean: To, to try to draw out, uh, some conversation and get into their world a little bit.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Elaborate on that and define that.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, I think conversation is important, uh, that’s only one, what I call, dialect because it, as you say could be playing a game with them together, they still have your full attention. But, uh, I remember for example, that the child brings home a, uh, a piece of art that they did in school and the parent says, “Oh, that’s nice, that’s beautiful. You did a good job with that.” No conversation. That’s monologue. That’s affirming words, that was fine, but that’s not quality time. But if after saying that, the mom says to that child, “What were you thinking about when you drew that?”

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: They said, “Well I was thinking when we were down at grandmother’s house and remember we had a picnic outside under the oak tree and this was the dog. Remember he ate my hot dog and I didn’t like him-

Jim: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: … but I like him now?” And now, you know, now you’re having a conversation, “And what did you feel like, you know, when you were writing that?” So it’s not just giving affirming words. This is where it, uh, words of affirmation and quality time differ. Quality time and it doesn’t have to be a long time. You mentioned it could be-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … a brief time. Uh, for example, a mother’s fixing, uh, potato salad and the five-year-old says, “Mommy, can we play? Can we play, mommy?” And she said, “Honey, I gotta finish the potato salad.” And in two minutes, they’re back, “Can we play now mommy, can play now?” And this goes on two or three times. That child’s language is quality time. They’re begging you for it.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: So if you know that, why not give ’em five minutes before you start the potato salad?

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And with five minutes of quality time with them and then you say, “Now honey, mommy’s gotta go make the potato salad for supper.” So you … you know.

Jim: I’ve got a better idea. Go to Costco.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: (laughing)

Jean: Well now … And I, I-

Dr. Chapman: And buy the potato salad (laughing).

Jim: (laughing)

Jean: … I have a question. What do, uh, what do you think about bringing the child in to helping make the potato salad?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, that’s an act of service.

Jim: Oh interesting.

Dr. Chapman: You’re teaching them how to do something.

Jean: Right.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, that’s good.

Jim: That could cost more time (laughing).

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jean: Oh it will.

Dr. Chapman: Oh-

Jean: … it will. And they will not do it the way you want it.

Jim: (laughing)

John: And the mayonnaise just ended on the floor, so-

Jim: (laughing)

John: … get ready for that.

Jim: You did do that with the boys. Uh, you invited them in to help you-

Jean: I did-

Jim: … prepare things.

Jean: … and that, that-

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: … can be really challenging-

Jim: (laughing)

Jean: … for parents because the dishes aren’t going to be put away the way you want them to, or loaded in the dishwasher the way you want, or you … Right, things aren’t going to look the way that you intended-

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: … but it is also teaching your kids how to-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Oh yeah.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

John: I hear that distinction, though, being for a child with quality time you’re dialing into them and what-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

John: … they’re feeling-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

John: … as they do something or express something.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: You know, one thing again, I’ll pull it toward the dad’s side with quality time, you know, “Hey, let’s watch the football game.”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: And they really don’t wanna do that.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, uh, yeah (laughing).

Jim: I mean, I noticed that with-

Dr. Chapman: That’s for dad’s-

Jim: … Trent and-

Dr. Chapman: … interest-

Jim: … Troy.

Dr. Chapman: … not their interest.

Jean: Yes.

Jim: Yeah. I mean, Troy is just coming around at 19 now where he’ll sit and watch a bit of a game-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … with me.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: But it’s never the whole game.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: And one of the points I make is to speak quality time, you have to go to where the child is.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: If they’re little, you’re on the floor, rolling the-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … ball back and forth. You know, “Wee!”

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: They, they have your full attention. If the phone rings and you answer the phone, now you still roll the ball, but they don’t have your full attention.

Jim: Hmm. Gary let me ask you this because this is, again, something that has to be intentional. I, you know … And I’m not gonna just stereotype. Yes I am, I’m gonna stereotype this.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: So guy comes home, he’s tired and four and five-year-old kiddos are wanting time and he wants to watch the news. You know, it’s news, weather, and sports time. Click, click, click, you’re kinda decompressing from work. I think with Jean’s help, sometimes not gentle, but-

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jean: (laughing)

Jim: … and she’s like, “You know, the boys need your time. I don’t think that news station needs your time right now, or that football game.” And it, it took a little time for persistence but I think I finally caught it and turned it off.

Dr. Chapman: You know, I think the word you used earlier, Jean, “Priority.” We have to choose our priorities. And when you have children in the home, then they should be one of your top priorities. Your spouse should be your first top priority-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … but then the children. It’s more important than anything you’re gonna watch on TV, anything you’ll be doing on the computer. And if you realize that, you keep bringing yourself back to that, you know, “Okay, I’ve gotta do this, I’ve gotta-

Jim: Would, would-

Dr. Chapman: … do that.

Jim: … describe that as habits?

Dr. Chapman: I think-

Jim: Like if you get into a habit-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … and you gotta break the habit.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And when we can break habits and we have to replace them with something different. So what we’re replacing them with is, in this case, is quality time with our children.

Jim: Yeah. So keep going moms, keep pressing dad.

Jean: (laughs)

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: But okay, let’s move to gifts. This is the one for me as I did the quizzes. This is at the far end of, “I don’t really care.”

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

John: Yeah, I’ve noticed.

Jean: (laughing)

Jim: (laughs) and this any, again, this is the receiving of gifts. I think, Jean, you’ve probably seen this from me. It’s like if you get me one Christmas present or 10-

Jean: Right.

Jim: … I, doesn’t really matter.

Jean: Right.

Jim: And, um, it’s first described that Scrooge mentality (laughs)-

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: … that I possess. And then help me better understand that when this is a person’s love language-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … what that looks like.

Dr. Chapman: If this is the child’s love language and let’s say you didn’t give ’em a, a birthday gift, that kid’s gonna feel like, “They don’t love me.”

Jim: Mm-hmm, right.

Dr. Chapman: You know? Now parents will typically give birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, you know. But if gifts is their language, you have to give gifts more often than just birthdays-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … and Christmas. But the gifts don’t have to be expensive. Sometimes parents go, “Well won’t this teach them materialism? It’s things, things, things.” Uh, they don’t have to be expensive. You can pick up a stone in a city parking lot and take it home and give it to an eight-year-old boy if gifts is his language. And say, “Man I found this today and I thought about you. Look at the colors in here man. I wanted you to have this.” If gifts is his love language, you’ll find that stone in his dresser drawer when he’s 23-

Jim: Uh.

Dr. Chapman: … and he’ll remember the day you gave it to him.

John: Oh, I appreciate that. We have one child that is a very much a, a gift receiver and she can be effusive about getting a vacuum cleaner for a gift. I mean, it’s just like “Oh, it’s wonderful…

Jim: What a lucky man her husband will be.

John: …best gift in the world.”

Jim: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jim: She’s the blender girl.

John: Well this is easy, yeah (laughing).

Jim: (laughing)

Jean: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

John: Just, uh, anything. Well this is Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. We’re so glad to have Jean Daly with us and also Dr. Gary Chapman who wrote a fantastic book, The 5 Love Languages of Children. Get your copy when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: Gary, let’s go to the last one and we have a few more questions for you here. But, um, that idea of acts of service. Uh, most moms probably feel, and I’ll get your affirmation on this, Jean, that they serve their kids all day long.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jean: (laughing) yes.

Jim: So how, how did how do you differentiate between uh, this love language and just the normal, “I’m taking care of everything here (laughs)?”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. Well, I do think that we are forced as parents to speak this love language from the moment they’re born. When-

Jim: Which is-

Dr. Chapman: … they’re born.

Jim: … a good way to look at it actually.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Yeah, a healthy way.

Dr. Chapman: ‘Cause it, they can’t do anything.

Jean: Right.

Dr. Chapman: We put the food in, we take the food out. I mean-

Jean: (laughing)

Jim: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: … we, we, we gotta do it all, you know? And so in those early years we’re doing for them things they cannot do for themselves.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: But another part of this love language is teaching them how to do things for themselves and this takes more time and energy. A six-year-old can make up their own bed but they have to be taught and it takes time to do that. Uh, we mentioned this earlier. Teaching them how to cook a meal is a far more expression of love than cooking the meal for them.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: Because you’re preparing them for life.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: Our granddaughter could cook a full meal when she was 14 years old. Her father, who’s the cook in the house, taught her-

Jim: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: … (laughs) how, how, how to cook a meal and she loves it. She makes her own birthday cakes, you know?

Jim: Wow.

Dr. Chapman: She just loves it. And, but she had that interest in that and she wanted to learn that. So I’ve sometimes said to parents, “Think along these lines. What would you like your child to be able to do by the time they’re 18 years old? Why don’t you make a list and let the, let … If it’s teenagers, let them help you make a list. What would they like to know how to do by the time they’re 18-

Jim: Right-

Dr. Chapman: … years old?”

Jim: … that’s good.

Dr. Chapman: And let that be a guideline in terms of how you can speak the language acts of service. And this is good whether this is their primary language or not because at 18, they’re going, in our culture, they’re going off to university, gonna join the military, or gonna get a job we hope, you know?

Jim: Right (laughs) yeah, exactly.

Dr. Chapman: But they need to be prepared.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: And so this is one of the aspects of speaking this language that’s super, super helpful to every child.

Jim: Yeah, uh, I was thinking of more externally to the home like going and volunteering at a soup kitchen, doing things like that which also applies there.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: But Jean, I hadn’t thought about it. I mean at 10, you had the boys doing laundry.

Dr. Chapman: Huh.

Jim: That was pretty good.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: I always thought-

Jean: I did.

Jim: … “Wow.”

Jean: That was-

Jim: Yeah, you were good with that.

Jean: … that’s one thing I did-

Jim: Yeah (laughing).

Jean: … right. But, um-

Jim: No it’s true though.

Jean: … and-

Jim: They were.

Jean: … and-

Jim: Now I don’t know how many pink T-shirts-

Jean: Right.

Jim: … we ended up with.

Jean: Right and again, you know, parents can do everything better than the kids.

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: And it does take more time and energy-

Jim: In the beginning.

Jean: … to teach them.

Jim: Yeah, yeah.

Jean: But it is important, yes, to look at the end game.

Jim: Yeah.

Jean: What do you want your child to be able to do as an adult?

Jim: Gary, where do, how do we set that boundary as a parent not to overindulge our kid’s needs in that way? Like, uh, you know, there are some people we know that they’re 17 and mom is still doing everything.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: How, first I guess, how do we realize that’s not healthy-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … and we’ve got to create the list? I guess you-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … partially answered it there.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: But what if you’re getting pleasure-

Dr. Chapman: Hmm.

Jim: … you’re deriving-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … uh, identity and self-worth out of taking care of these kids and you’re taking care of ’em at 17 like you did at five?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, I think you have to realize what’s gonna happen when they’re 18 and they go off to university? That kinda sobers you up because-

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … you recognize there are some things I need to, to teach these kids, you know? I think first of all as their younger, we play to their interest. If they’re interested in learning to cook, fine. If they’re interested in sports, fine. Whatever, you know, whatever we can do. But we wanna teach them with their interest but later on, we want to be thinking strategically in terms of what is going to serve them well when they get to be an adult. And even if they’re not interested, we at least want to get them exposed to whatever that topic may be.

Jim: Now that is so good. Um, let’s move into a little love and discipline discussion. In your book you wrote, “Disciplining a child without love is like trying to run a machine without oil.” And that’s a great (laughs) illustration. Uh, it appears to be working for a little while but then, the engine seizes, right? Describe that.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, I think, uh, all of us as parents have to discipline our children. It means we have guidelines. We can call them rules, we can call them principles, we can call them guidelines and we have consequences when they break the guidelines. And that’s a necessary part. God does that for us. In fact, the Bible says he disciplines all of these children. If you don’t get disciplined, you don’t belong to God. So as parents we model in God doing that. But discipline without the child feeling love comes across as harsh.

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: And so one of the things I say is before you administer the discipline, speak their love language, wrap it in their love language. Let’s say words of affirmation’s their language, “Let’s say the rule is we don’t throw the ball inside the house. If we do, the ball goes in the truck for two days. And if you break something, you have to pay for it out of your allowance. Okay?” So the child breaks the law. Parent says, “Honey, I’m so proud of you because seldom do you break the rules but you know you broke this one and you know what has to happen, right?” Their head’s down and they’re nodding yes, okay.

Jim: I’m feeling good.

Dr. Chapman: “So, so let’s go to the-

Jim: (laughs)

Dr. Chapman: … car and we put it in the truck. And I don’t know how much the vase costs but we’ll have to take it out of your allowance. But, but listen, I’m so proud of you because you seldom do this.” That child walks away feeling this is fair. Because they already knew what the, the punishment was gonna be. When you have a rule, always tell ’em what’s gonna happen if they break the rule beforehand. They already know that and they feel this is fair. But if you simply go in there and say, “I told you not to do that. You know better than that, you know that … You know what’s gonna have to happen?” Now the child walks away feeling like, “You know, I try hard, I mess up on one thing and I get blasted.”

Jim: Or, “I’m worthless.”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, “I’m worthless.”

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: So we, we can’t allow our emotional state at the time to control our behavior.

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: And if we wrap it in love, the child feels like it’s fair. They accept it in the way you ex-, you want it to be.

Jim: Uh, Gary I remember a time I discipline Trent and, uh, he went to his room. And I went up afterward and I was gonna affirm him. I’m doing good so far right?

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And, uh, but if he wouldn’t speak to me. He was probably eight, seven, or eight. And, uh, uh, I said, “Um, are you upset?” And he shook his head yes. You know, with one nod. Bam.

Dr. Chapman: Yes.

Jim: And then I said, “Can you talk with me?” And he went, “No.” (laughs) And shook his head-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … that way. And I said, “Can you write what you’re feeling? And he shook his head yes. So I went got a pen and paper and I gave it to him and I said, “How do you feel when I discipline you?” And I remember he wrote, “It feels like you don’t love me.”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: So what was he expressing to me?

Dr. Chapman: I think he was expressing his emotional response at the moment. And I think what you did was great. I would not have thought about the pencil/paper thing, but I like that.

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Chapman: Because it gave him … He could not talk at that moment about it.

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: He was too-

Jim: He was not going to.

Dr. Chapman: … upset to do that.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: But yes, he could write out what he’s feeling. And I think what we have to be thinking of in terms of parents when we discipline is, “How does this come across to my child? Does it come across as this is a lo-, I’m doing this because I love you?” Because that, all discipline should be flowing out of our love. We’re letting them learn a tremendous principle in life that when we break the rules, there’s consequences to breaking the rules.

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: So we’re teaching them something really, really important. But how did the way I’m delivering the discipline come across to them?

Jim: Yeah, it’s so true.

Dr. Chapman: If it comes across in a negative way, they don’t feel loved by you.

Jim: Mm-hmm. Uh, Jean, I think with Troy it was hugs, right? You, we’d discipline Troy and then … Three times we had to discipline him. Cause he-

Dr. Chapman: (laughs)

Jim: … I mean, he just was never-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … outside the boundaries typically.

Jean: Right. He was one of those children that you just give that kind of look to that, that disappointed look and that was enough.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: But I will say with, uh, our oldest son, it was more challenging. And, you know, honestly, for a lot of us parents, we are not calm when they have done whatever it is for the umpteenth time; you’re frustrated. You’re really frustrated, you’re not feeling unconditional love. And Dr. Chapman, that’s why I love that you talk about this. It’s just so important for us as parents. We’ve got to find that way to calm ourselves down-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: … before we discipline-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: … the child. And whether it’s taking three deep breaths or taking … I, I learned of a mommy timeout. I love that one.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

Jean: Love that.

Jim: (laughing)

Jean: And you can’t do that.

Jim: Please send me to timeout (laughing).

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: Yes. You can’t do that if you have a three-year-old-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: … that-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jean: … needs to be watched. But that’s really the crux of it is that we can calm down and as you talked about, keep in mind what, why are we wanting to discipline them? What is the point of it?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah, yeah.

Jim: Well, let me frame it a little bit like this. Uh, for the moms and dads listening where you have that stronger willed child, you have, you know, they require more attention. Um, how do you reset constantly (laughs)? I mean, you know, how do you get ahold of your own emotions so you’re not losing it?

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm. I think we have to say to ourselves, “I don’t wanna ever discipline my child out of anger.

Jim: Yes.

Dr. Chapman: Because if I do, it will come across as I don’t like you, I don’t love you, you’re an awful person.” And so it’s a time out thing I think. We, we wait till we calm down a bit and if it’s, uh, three minutes or if it’s 30 minutes, we wait till we calm down a little bit so that we can approach it in a much more loving way because we want the discipline to come across as love, “I do this-

Jean: Right.

Dr. Chapman: … because I love you.”

John: Mm-hmm, yeah-

Jean: Right.

John: … that’s good. Uh, Jim, you’re making me think of one of my bigger regrets as a parent was what I called taking the bait with that child.

Jean: Oh no-

Jim: Oh the button-

Jean: … oh, yeah.

Jim: … pushing. They’re phenomenal at pushing-

John: Oh, I-

Jim: … our buttons.

John: … I just took it like a challenge and that’s-

Dr. Chapman: That’s right.

John: … exactly what that child wanted.

Dr. Chapman: (laughing)

John: And I’ve so, I’ve so learned-

Dr. Chapman: (laughs)

John: … to just not go there.

Jim: Okay, but what’s that transaction about? Gary, we’re all laughing ’cause it’s rooted in truth.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: This is what-

Dr. Chapman: It’s true.

Jim: … happens. They’re pushing our buttons and-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … we’re going for the [inaudible 00:23:06].

Jean: We take the bait.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: So what is that transaction all about between parent and child?

Dr. Chapman: Well I think we have to recognize what’s happening. First of all, you know, that they’re trying to get us upset because they-

Jim: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: … want to see us do wrong, you know.

Jim: Little sinners.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah (laughing).

Jean: (laughing)

Jim: (laughing)

John: (laughing)

Dr. Chapman: And then I think we just have to recognize, “Okay, this is a pattern. I’m beginning to see this now. Okay, I, God, I need your help to break the pattern.” You know? ‘Cause we can break patterns.

Jim: Oh, yeah, but it’s tough. I remember Jean would have to say to me sometimes, “Remember who the adult is.”

Dr. Chapman: Yes (laughing).

John: (laughing)

Jean: I just, I must have forgotten that-

Jim: (laughing)

Jean: … about myself many times.

Jim: But it’s true, man.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: We just take it hook, line-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … and sinker.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: Uh, Gary as we close, uh, I wanna encourage the listener, the viewer who’s never thought about their child’s love language. Just hasn’t been on the radar.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: They haven’t heard about that. Now that sand-, it sounds a little odd after 14 million copies sold, but there will be some people that aren’t familiar with the concept.

Dr. Chapman: Right.

Jim: And now their child maybe is a little older. They’re in that teen phase and they haven’t been effective at first identifying their love language and second, putting it into action so that if they are correcting them, how to affirm them through those words of affirmation, physical touch, what have you. What can they do today-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … practically to get the ship righted a little bit?

Dr. Chapman: Yeah. I think one thing is to have a conversation with that teenager-

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: … and just say, “You know, I was listening to a radio program and I heard this.” Or, “I read a book and I heard this concept that people have different love languages and I never thought about this before. And I have a love language, and daddy has a love language, and you have a love language and I’ve never thought about this before. And I found out there was a free quiz and I went online and took that quiz, dad and I did, and I found out that what makes dad loves is not what I thought. He’s got a different love language. I thought this made him feel loved but no, this is it. And he had mine wrong. And so there’s one for teenagers. Would you be willing to take that quiz so we can talk about that?

Jim: Hmm.

Dr. Chapman: Because I don’t know how much you feel loved on a scale of 0 to 10. I think I love you a 10, but I don’t know if you feel it that way. You know?”

Jim: Right.

Dr. Chapman: And so that opens up the whole concept to them and, and then we can really talk about it as a family and-

Jim: Yeah.

Dr. Chapman: … look back on the past.

Jim: I think you touched on this but I wanna hit this once again. That idea of demonstrating humility to your children by asking for forgiveness. I remember the first time I did that and the boys … Uh, Trent was probably five or six and I remember he was in the top bunk bed, and so he had me eyeball to eyeball. And we had had a little confrontation and then discipline. And he’s in bed and I go up to affirm him-

Dr. Chapman: (laughs)

Jim: … after reading Dr. Chapman’s book.

Dr. Chapman: Yes (laughing).

Jean: (laughing)

Jim: And, uh, I remember looking at him in the eyes and I just said, “You know, I’m so sorry. I think I over …” Which I had, “I over reacted-

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: … and I just, I’d like to ask you to forgive me.” And all of a sudden he had a big smile on his face.

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: And I’m thinking, “Okay, what’s coming?” And he goes, “I didn’t know parents had to ask for forgiveness.”

John: Wow.

Jim: Isn’t that amazing (laughs)?

John: Wow.

Jim: And I said, “Are you kidding? We’re gonna make so many mistakes, Trent.”

Dr. Chapman: Yeah.

Jim: And it was just awesome. And I think that was a moment-

Dr. Chapman: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … that he will remember forever.

Dr. Chapman: Absolutely, absolutely.

Jim: And, uh, that’s a good place to start as well with humility.

John: Another good conversation with Dr. Gary Chapman and Jean Daly on Focus on the Family along with your host, Jim Daly. And I know this has been helpful to you as a mom or a dad. Um, this was one of our best programs of 2022. We heard from so many parents who said it was meaningful and really applicable content.

Jim: Yes and let’s get a copy of Gary’s book to you, The 5 Love Languages of Children. If you can make a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family, we’ll send it to you as our way of saying thank you. And when you donate, uh, you’ll be helping us to provide resources and programs to others in the parenting journey. In fact, when you give today, your gift will be doubled because of some generous friends of Focus who’ve offered to match your gift dollar for dollar.

John: Donate and request that great book, The 5 Love Languages of Children. And our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Can also stop by online and, uh, when you’re at the website, we have some links so you can take a quiz to learn your own love language as Gary was describing. Uh, that website is focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

book cover for the five love languages of children

The 5 Love Languages of Children

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