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The Five Love Languages of Children, Part 8: Acts of Service

For the past few entries, I have been discussing the five love languages of children based on the book of the same name by authors Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. In previous entries, we have reviewed and discussed the first four love languages including physical touch (part 1 and part 2), words of affirmation (part 1 and part 2), quality time (part 1 and part 2), and gifts.Today, we will be discussing the last of the five love languages of children, Acts of Service.

An act of service is a parent’s ability to help a child with a specific task. This ranges from changing a baby’s diaper, to making a toddler’s bed, to helping an elementary-aged child fix his bike, to quizzing an adolescent on an upcoming test.

During acts of service, it is not a parent’s job to please a child, but rather to do what is best for the child. This may not satisfy the child in the moment, however, these skills will serve to help the child become a mature and independent adult.

Acts of service

For example, a child may want to eat ice cream after every meal. A parent can provide the child with this request, however, this may not be the best option for the child’s overall health. As such, giving the child ice cream every now and then may not be the child’s ultimate wish but it will help the child in his or her future.

Parents can view acts of service as a means to helping a child until that child is ready to learn the behavior on his or her own.

A father may show an act of service by cleaning his 2 year old daughter’s room - this is developmentally appropriate. However, if that father continues to clean his daughter’s room until she is 16 years old, he may be hindering his daughter’s ability to know how to clean and take care of her own individual needs. This may become a problem when she is ready to live on her own. As such, it would be more appropriate for the father to begin to teach his daughter how to clean her room and continue to help her until she is ready to clean her room on her own.

In this scenario, the father first models the behavior, then helps his daughter learn the behavior, and finally, allows the daughter to do the behavior on her own. That’s what this love language is all about - it is to help children emerge as mature adults who are able to give love to others by helping one another.

Be sure to visit us again next week to learn tips and tricks to parent a child whose love language is acts of service.

As a parent, if you feel learning about the 5 love languages has been helpful, seeking individual therapy can be a great way to take these topics and learn about them in relation to you and your family. There are many different types of therapy outside of individual therapy, including couples therapy and family therapy, that can help you and your family create, maintain, and/or strengthen connections. For more information on therapy, visit FAQ at Hilber Psychological Services. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us.