Hello again! Thank you for joining us!
We are just going to dive right on in today! The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers New Edition: The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively
These are my words in summary after reading this chapter of Dr. Chapman’s book. I appreciate your patience as I covered the first and second chapter of the book in previous posts this week so that you could get the basics. Now we are going to talk about the number one love language of our teens: Words of Affirmation!
Let’s begin with Words of Praise:
Remember when you used to praise your youngster? They could just be toddling around the house, and you would speak loving words over them and to them. They were trying as hard as they could to do something, and you would cheer them on by saying, “Good job!” While the teenagers are growing and are trying to develop their independence and self-identity, they are still in need of words of affirmation from their parents. They just need it in a different way in their teen years.
Lots of times conflict arises when the parent and the child alike have an empty love tank. There is conflict when focus is placed more on what the teen is doing wrong instead of praising for what the teen actually does right! Make sure that you’re complimenting and praising, but be genuine and sincere with your words! A general “good job” is fine, but your teen wants to hear more. Why not take it a step further, “I watched you today as you helped that little old lady with her bags in the grocery store. I was beaming with pride when you reached out to help her. You showed complete respect, compassion and concern for this lady. You blessed her heart, and you blessed mine as well.”
Let’s think about that for a moment.
If you watched the teen interact with the little old lady and, instead, mentioned a negative about the exchange, they will feel hurt. Why? Because it will seem to them like their efforts went unnoticed because you went on the fault-finding path instead of pouring words of praise and affirmation over them!
I know for me, personally, I had this happen a few times with a family member when I was growing up. I thought enough to write a note letting the person know I was thinking of them. They had been on my mind a great deal, and so I wanted to reach out to them. It always brightened my day when someone sent me a card or wrote a special message to me. I wanted to brighten their day in this way. When the family member received the card in the mail, I received a phone call where they proceeded to tell me that they got my card but next time I needed to use another type of pen. They went on and on about how the letter must have gotten wet and the envelop smeared because of the pen I chose and how I really don’t need to use them again when I write because it just messed up the entire envelop. At no time in the phone conversation did they say a simple, “Thank you for thinking of me.” Instead, they focused more on, “Next time you need to use another pen because this thing smeared so badly that I could hardly read the writing on the envelop. You really need to do better next time. I just don’t understand why you chose that particular type of pen when you could have used another. I’m telling you, that thing smeared all over to where you could not even read it!” Apparently the postman was able to read it, though, if the card was delivered after all!
You see, in the above example in my own teenage life, I set out wanting to bless someone. In return, I was torn down by my use of a certain pen type. I had no way of knowing that my card would get wet in transition from the post office to the family member’s house. I hadn’t even considered that!
My good deed went unnoticed. I felt worse after sending the card than before when I set out to bless their day. I can guarantee you I thought twice about sending them anything in the mail again. My love tank was so empty at that moment in time when I was fussed at instead of praised for my efforts. Please don’t do this to your teenager.
I know, too, that when your teen does something that you do not like that it is hard to resist pointing it out to them. You’re trying to teach them so they will not do this in the future, but be sure that you are not constantly condemning your teen. I’m not just speaking of anything small like the pen mentioned above, but these has to do with bigger issues also. Please be sure that you’re not being negative in your conversation with your teen or you will push them to rebel all the more against you. Conflict will continue to escalate. Change course and focus on the positives that they do. Surely there are plenty of good things you can say about your teen. I know at times we will have to handle situations where they will need guidance, but do so gently and not so much in the “because I said so” mentality.
If you have noticed that you’ve been more drawn to speak negatively, I urge you to call a family meeting and let your teens know that you are sorry for being so hard on them, for coming across as if you were downing them or condemning them. Vow to make a change in your own life that will bless and benefit the heart of your teenager!
Now let’s talk about Words of Affection! Believe it or not, teenagers crave to hear those three special words, “I love you,” from their parents! Mothers often times are very free with these words of affection, and that is a good thing. Keep up the good work, and keep telling your son or daughter how much you love them. They need to feel secure in your love! Sadly, though, not a lot of fathers speak those words of affection to their children. It may have a lot to do with how they were raised. If they did not grow up in a loving environment where words of love and affection were spoken freely in their house, they may be more reserved in saying them to others. Yes, even to their own children. I have seen the devastating affects that it has on teens when one parent does not say those words of affection to their children. I have friends who have told me that their parents, often times their fathers, never told them that they love them as they were growing up. This just hurts my heart knowing that anyone would grow up without hearing those words spoken freely from the lips of their parents – mothers and fathers alike! The teens NEED to hear those words! You will speak straight to their heart and build up their self esteem and confidence so much. You will fill up their love tanks more than you could ever imagine by just saying those three words, “I love you.” If you are that parental figure that never tells your child that you love them because those words were not spoken freely to you, break that cycle right this minute. Please, I beg you. Let your teens know how much you love them! Look them in the eye and say those words. It will have a huge impact on them!
While the teen may not appreciate if you spoke of your love for them in front of their peers, they will appreciate it when you speak positively about them in the presence of other family members. Often times we focus on what they do “wrong” … but when you speak words of love about them to other family members and focus on all that they have done “right” … you are filling their love tank at that very moment in time!
Your words have such power, and you have the ability to bless someone or tear someone down. Why not choose to build them up and bless them with your words! This will go a long way with your teenager!