Mental Health Blog

Your Child's Love Language, Physical Touch

Posted by Alan Godfrey on

 

What does it mean to physically love your children? As part of the love languages of children series, here is what physical touch is for your child. After we go through the 5 love languages for children, I’ll write more about how to tell which is your child’s specific love language. Your child may feel the most loved by their parents by how healthy physical touch is shared with them. Physical touch is the easiest love language to give unconditionally because you have constant access to this with your child when you spend time together. If you’re a parent who feels strange giving physical affection, keep in mind that it might mean it was something you needed growing up and you can give to someone who needs it too.

How physical touch shows itself as a love language through the developmental years:

Infants and Toddlers: This age group of children needs hugs and kisses many times throughout the day, to be held not just when crying, and carried with skin contact as much as possible. Boy and girls alike need the same amount of physical affection, and from both parents. Physical affection for a boy will not make them more feminine, if anything it will help their self-image and beginning stages of love and sexuality become strong and healthy.

School-aged Children: Children do not need less physical affection as they grow older, even if they say so. Children may want to be loved in ways such as wrestling, tag, tickling, hugs, high-fives, playing games and sports. Holding a child for a story, or while they’re ill will also convey your love for them.

Teens: Teenagers need physical love too? Yep! Girls, during their preadolescent stage look for and need more affection from their father, and can distance themselves from mom. Boys look for more encouragement and respect from their father too as they age. If dad pulls away, they may pull away as well. When girls feel loved by their father, they will learn how to be loved by their husbands. Boys will watch the physical affection a mother and father show to each other and start to learn what romantic relationships are meant to look like. If you or your partner need help in this field, now is great time to seek a tune-up with a good couple’s counselor.

If your child is known to be “handsy” or touches things or people often, especially family members they probably have physical touch as their love language. More on how to tell in future blogs, but for now try these out if you’re unsure and know your child is loved in all ways, but this may be their deepest way.

The 5 Love Languages of Children (2012), by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

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