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One of my family's favorite books is "The Five Love Languages of Children." We've read it with our older children and now we're revisiting it with our middle children and finding out what their love language is. The idea is to note how they express themselves -- some may draw pictures and give them to you while others may save up their money and buy something for you or someone else. If you can reach out to them in that same love language it can help them to feel loved and understood.
Some kids just want to take time to talk and listen, whereas others respond to touch, and it means the world to them if you come up and pat them on the back or give them a bear hug; it's just different for each one.
On the book's Web site you can take a test to assess your love language personality, and it e-mails back the results. I also keep a list of questions and how the kids respond on my cell phone. I go down those lists of questions with each of my children periodically and just keep that on my phone so that I can keep in mind their spiritual gifts and how their strengths and weaknesses are different.
I've tweaked the questions a little bit over the years, but it's what I currently use any time I'm purposely aiming for one-on-one time with my kids. I just start going down and asking those questions again.
Some of my boys are men now, and it's interesting to see how they respond to the questions -- I'll get new or deeper answers. It's just a nice way to stay connected with their hearts and remember what it is they're going through right now.
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