Teens still need a strong relationship with their parents. Although they are at a stage in life when social relationships are important (and they will likely place more emphasis on their friends right now over family, they will still need their parents to be there for them. Because of this it’s important to continue to keep the parent-teen relationship strong.
One expert and highly regarded researcher in the area of relationships is author Gary Chapman. In 1995, he wrote a book titled The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, and it was a huge success. Essentially, the book explained that different people show their love in different ways. And if a couple could identify their primary love language they could perhaps express their love for their partner and strengthen their relationship.
Because Chapman’s ideas were so popular, he later developed the Five Love Languages of Teenagers. If you’re interested in strengthening your relationship with your teen, here are five love languages:
- Quality Time – If your teen’s primary love language is quality time, then they crave your undivided attention. Your teen wants you to be there for them. They will feel loved and appreciated if you have the TV off and your mind on them alone. You’ll need to create time with your teen without distractions so that you can truly listen to your teen without thinking of other things. Create some uninterrupted time with your teen, and they’re sure to feel loved by you.
- Words of Affirmation – Teens with this love language, they want to hear how much you mean to them. It’s not so much time alone or doing nice things for them, instead your teen wants to hear “I love you” and “I love having you in my life” or “I’m so glad you’re my child”. Any words of encouragement, love, and tenderness is the way that a teen with this love language will feel appreciated.
- Acts of Service – If your teen has this love language, they most appreciate it when you’ve done things for them. They love it when you help them ease the burden of responsibilities. You might help them with homework, make their bed for them, or pack their lunch. Anytime you can do something that you normally wouldn’t for your teen will help them feel special.
- Physical Touch – A teen with this love languages is going to love receiving hugs, pats on the back, thoughtful touches on the arm, or a gentle touch on the face. To this teen, physical touch is a way to show love, care, and excitement.
- Receiving Gifts – It’s important to keep in mind that this love language is not about buying your teen’s love. A teen with this love language still wants to know that a gift you give them came out of how much you love them. It’s the way you give the gift and what you say to them when you do it that can make the difference. Teens with this love language aren’t keen on materialism, but they would like to receive something from time to time that says they are loved. This could be a card with loving words, an item that’s going to help them in their lives. To these teens, gifts are symbols of love.
If your teen is interested in finding out what their love language is, they can take this short assessment online. When you’re both informed about the way your teen likes to receive and give love, you can then use that information to strengthen your parent-teen relationship.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.