Offer most parents a way to understand their children better and they will jump at the opportunity. The Five Love Languages of Children (Northfield Publishing, 1997) provides just such a chance to open up new and practical ways of understanding parent-child relationships. This insightful, yet easy to read book, is a collaborative effort by two highly credentialed and successful authors. Gary Chapman, Ph. D. is extending the insights of his 1992 best-seller The Five Love Languages. Ross Campbell, M.D. is the author of the volume that I had previously labeled the best book on child-raising that I have ever read, How to Really Love Your Child, which has sold over a million copies. Their collaborative book now contends strongly for that title.
The heart of the book is the section explaining how the five love languages work in the lives of children. If you have never been exposed to Dr. Chapman’s work on the love languages, you will be completely engrossed and fascinated as you reflect on your own parent-child communication in the light of the five; physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, gifts and acts of service. Each chapter includes helpful illustrative stories from real life and examples from the conversations of children to help the reader understand the principles. Chapter seven is a practical chapter titled “How to Discover Your Child’s Primary Love Language.” The real benefit will be the positive results in your closest relationships as you gain insights and learn to put his principles into practice.
The second half of the book tackles with great wisdom different challenges that face families which greatly affect how we show love to children; challenges like discipline, helping children learn, and dealing with anger. Also in this section is a chapter especially for single parents that contains, among other things, especially helpful guidance concerning the grief process in children. And there is a chapter on the five languages as they apply to married couples; a short summary from Dr. Chapman’s first book.
There is a list for additional reading as well as occasional helpful references in the text. A section at the end contains a detailed action plan and short group discussion guide for each chapter.
I believe every parent should read this book. Grandparents, teachers, counselors and pastors would also benefit greatly from it as well. Dr. Chapman concludes, “I dream of a day when all children can grow up in homes filled with love and security, where their developing energies can be channeled to learning and serving rather than craving and searching for the love they did not receive at home” (p. 193). This book will help bring that day a little closer.