Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Anyone who loves a child (or was ever a child themselves!) understands just how important it is to boost their self-esteem and build their confidence.
Confidence and the 5 Love Languages
Question: How do I build my child’s confidence?
Answer: Using the 5 Love Languages.
Let me back up a minute. Anyone who loves a child (or was ever a child themselves!) understands just how important it is to boost their self-esteem and build their confidence. There are so many ways to achieve this! We build children’s confidence in small ways by:
Calling them by name — which gives value to their sense of being.
Playing with them — whatever game they choose.
Listening to them attentively when they have something to say.
We build children’s confidence in bigger ways too by:
Trusting them to do things on their own — from choosing their own outfits to important jobs around the house.
Encouraging them to do things they’ve never done, and sharing in the first steps when they’re nervous or scared.
Giving them the tools to self-advocate.
Whether big or small, all of our efforts to build children’s confidence are infinitely more effective when done with their love language in mind.
What Are the 5 Love Languages?
Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages are a simple way of understanding how individuals best give and receive love — which is pretty crucial if we are committed to our relationships. The premise is that we all have one or two dominant languages out of the five.
Quality Time – spending time together and giving the other person your complete attention
Physical Touch – holding hands or a touch on the arm; this language is about appropriate touch
Receiving Gifts – it’s usually the thought and time that went into the gift that is as loving (or more) as the gift itself
Acts of Service – remember the old adage actions speak louder than words
Words of Affirmation – using words to affirm others
How Do I Use the Love Languages?
First and foremost, take the quiz. Understand the 5 love languages through your own lenses. Reflect on the results of the quiz and what it tells you about how you best receive love. What examples can you think of that illustrate this point?
This self-understanding is key because it creates greater awareness to begin seeing how you tend to give love and to better recognize how others in your life better receive love. Most of us automatically give love to others (partner, children, siblings, parents, etc) the way we would most like to receive love in return. But your child, for example, won’t receive your love too well if his/her love language is different than yours — and that is pretty frustrating. Not feeling appreciated for what we try to offer others, frankly, just doesn’t feel too good. Beyond that, it makes communication harder too.
What does this have to do with building your child’s confidence? Well, the greater a child’s belief is that s/he are truly loved and understood, the more they’ll feel safe to explore who they really are. There’s not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that you love your child to the moon and back – you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t! And I’m willing to bet your child knows they are loved too. That doesn’t mean s/he always feels understood. When you can actively love your kids in the way they best perceive it as love, the more they feel loved from their point of view – not yours. That type of understanding is what the love languages offer.
Take time to learn your child’s love language; there is a children’s quiz too. Each day, intentionally choose one way to actively love your child within his/her love language. Notice how s/he responds and what happens over time. Once you know the love languages, you can’t un-know them. And as your child feels more and more understood and loved, you’ll watch their confidence grow!
Categories: parenting resources, confidence