Romancing the Home

21
Mar
2011


This is a post from Guest Columnist Lori Byerly of The Generous Wife

I am romanced challenged.

My husband was born a romantic.  Our relationship has been … interesting.

Our first year of marriage, he couldn’t understand why flowers and gifts weren’t winning my heart.  I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t pick up his socks.

Years later, I am still unraveling the mystery of romance, but along the way I have learned a few things and, in an effort not to pass on my romance disability, I began to “teach romance” to our kids (yes, it can be taught). [Read more…]

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Child Feel Special Today

17
Feb
2011

 
It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of our days that we let moments slip by.

Being intentional takes effort, takes time and does make a difference.

Most things are not rocket science; we are all capable of sharing with our children, but it does take purposeful thought and action on our part.

Here are a few easy ideas that might prompt you today:

Play a board game – let them pick a game, you set aside some of your time and enjoy some frivolous fun.  To spice it up, have a snack that is often “forbidden” – can you say “ice cream cones” at 10 AM?

Pay a Compliment – pick something out today, very specific, that you can compliment your child on.  Even better, how about making a list of 5 things you love about them and writing it on a note card for them to keep.

Share Eskimo kisseskisses are good, but how about some nose touching to brighten the moment?  As I teach my 14 month old what an Eskimo kiss is, I was brought back to the simple pleasure and laughter that it brings that differs from a normal kiss on the cheek or lips.  (Those are good too!)

Sticky NotesDraw a smiley face or short line on a sticky note and post it in a place your child will surely find it – unexpectedly! In their tooth brush drawer, inside their shoe, on the toilet seat or inside their school book.  Get creative and have fun!

Bake Cookies –  Even if you can’t make them from scratch it is okay!  Honestly, I don’t think your child would care – they just want your time.  Grab some readymade dough from the store and spend an hour scooping, baking, chatting and of course taste testing.  You will never know what you get from that conversation!

Do you have any sure-fire ways to help your child feel special?

Photo credit

Creating a New Level of Intimacy with Your Partner – Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC

31
May
2010

We all grow up dreaming of a perfect relationship with our partner, especially women. We really want to have great relationships, but many of us were not modeled or taught how to have a healthy one. We choose someone who seems compatible, do really well at first, and then…..life gets in the way! We forget or don’t take the time to focus on our partners needs like we did in the beginning. Our partner does the same and before long we are both feeling empty, unloved, and dissatisfied. [Read more…]

What is Your Child’s “Love Language”?

3
May
2010

What is Your Child’s “Love Language”?

By: Joleen Watson, MS, NCC

One of our most recommended resources for parents and couples is The Five Love Languages series by Gary Chapman. We believe that it is essential for all relationships and families to feel safe, happy, fulfilled, and secure, and in order to do this, we need to be aware of how we give and receive love. 

Every child gives and receives love in their own unique and special way, what Gary Chapman terms “Love Languages”. Think of each of your children as having a “Love Tank”, much like the gas tank in a car. Each time you speak your child’s love language to him or her, you are making a deposit in their love tank, and giving them emotional strength that fuels them through the day. 

There are basically five different ways children, and all people, speak and understand emotional love: Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service. If you have more than one child, realize that each of them may have a different love language and may need to be loved in different ways.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is one of love’s strongest voices and one of the easiest love languages to use unconditionally. If you ask a child “How do you know you are loved?”, this child will reply with things like: “Because I get extra hugs and kisses” or “Because mom snuggles with me at night before I go to bed”. Physical touch isn’t just confined to hugs and kisses. Playing games or sports together with your child, especially older children and boys, is a great way for you to meet this love language as well as quality time.

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are any form of verbal praise and affirmation that is genuine and affirming of how much love you have for your child. It’s not limited to the words “I love you”, though that is definitely important. If you ask a child how they know they are loved, a child with this love language will say things like: “Because Mom and Dad tell me when I’ve done a good job on a school project”, “Because they cheer loud for me at all my sports”, “Because they are always telling me how proud they are of me and how hard I work”. Other examples include: Put a note in your child’s lunchbox with encouraging words or call your child at home whenever you think of them to say I love you.

Quality Time

What really makes this child feel loved is your undivided attention. You can tell this is your child’s love language when they make repeated attempts and requests to play together and are seeking you out for one on one time and attention. Quality time is focused time and giving undivided attention. It’s giving your child the gift of presence, where you are going to their emotional and physical level of development. If you have more than one child, try to spend time with each of them individually.

A lot of childhood misbehavior is an attempt to get more time with mom or dad. It can get to the point for this child where even negative attention seems better than no attention. Examples include: Quality conversations that show direct and positive eye contact, cooking something together as a snack, asking specific open ended questions about your child’s day, setting a “date” with your child to do something special they have been talking about.

Gifts

This one can be a bit trickier, because a lot of times, gifts are used because they are easier and less time consuming than the other four love languages. The most meaningful gifts become symbols of love, but in order for this one to work, the child must feel like the parent genuinely cares. It can’t be a payment for something a child did, or it no longer meets the love language of gifts. It’s an expression of meaning that shows the child they are special. In other words, it needs to be an expression of love that has meaning to the child and freely given by the parent. It’s not about the size or cost of the gift, either, that makes gifts special.

Some examples include: Make a special meal you know your child likes, give your child a “song” you created for them that is special to the two of you,  hide a small gift in your chil’’s lunchbox, or give a gift that lasts, like planting a tree together.

Acts of Service

This love language is a harder one to define, since parenting is such a service oriented job anyway! We are constantly providing service to our kids, but the Acts of Service love language is different than the daily things we do as a parent to our children. Loving service is a gift, not a necessity. Gary Chapman defines it as “an internal desire to give ones energy freely, and done without coercion”. 

For example, when a child is asking you for help in fixing their bike, or finding a lost toy, or learning how to do something new, they are crying out for emotional love! It doesn’t mean that you jump at every request – especially those that aren’t age appropriate – but rather being extremely sensitive to the child’s request and knowing that your response will help fill your child’s love tank.

So, now that we have gone through each love language, it is important to know what to look for and how to identify your child’s love language. Every day there are clues to your child’s primary love language. With love languages, you can pay attention to:

  • How your child expresses love to you
  • How your child expresses love to others
  • Listen to what your child requests most often
  • Notice what your child most frequently complains about
  • Give your child a choice between two options, and see what they most frequently choose

If you do these things consistently, more than likely you will see a change in your child’s behavior and it can make parenting more intimate. I think you will also feel more confident in your parenting, knowing that you are meeting each of your children’s needs, from your heart to theirs!

Imagine Hope Counseling Group

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC is with Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Imagine Hope Counseling Group provides marriage, couples, individual, and family counseling for adults, children, and adolescents. Imagine Hope is based out of Indianapolis, Indiana.

From The Confident Mom: If you are interested in learning what your child’s love language is, click here to get a short quiz that will help you determine their primary love language.

Positive Parenting: Utilizing Discipline to Teach by Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC

8
Feb
2010

When we hear the word “discipline” we generally think of punishment. However, it is important to remember that discipline is really about teaching. The word disciple comes from the word discipline. When you think of Jesus’ disciples, they were people trying to learn from Him so they could go out and teach and spread the Gospel. When you put this in the context of your children, try to frame it that you are teaching them how to function and experience life in the safest and most productive way possible, so they can teach their children to do the same.

One of the best ways to teach your child is thru positive reinforcement. When your child is having a lot of negative behaviors, it is really easy and natural to constantly focus on those behaviors. However, when we do this, the child focuses on the negative as well, gets down on his or herself, and we get down on the child and ourselves. This then becomes a cycle of negativity. It is important to try to focus on what they are doing right as well. Sometimes you may really have to dig to find something positive! But there is something there. Start small. It may be something as little as they said “Thank you”. Reward them for the positive and then build on that.

An excellent example of how this works was played out in my own home. [Read more…]