Love Languages & Parenting
Custody Lawyer Chandler, AZ
My daughter is always extremely candid about what it has been like for her living in two homes. She is honest and beautiful and her normal, charmingly adorable self every time she talks about the pros and every time she laments the cons. Today, I started writing about what it’s like for me raising a daughter who lives in two homes from someone with a unique perspective as a Custody Lawyer Chandler, AZ. I wanted to tie my article into being intentional and feeding their love language. So, I started researching a bit and writing down my findings.
Three paragraphs in and I couldn’t stand the sight of the screen. I listed facts and wrote an ego driven story about how co-parenting can be difficult, and knowing your daughter has another bedroom can be tough, but gosh darn it with a little bit of positivity it would be fine. Blah blah blah. I started writing again. Another couple paragraphs, more hyperbolic gibberish and facts. I stepped away from the computer and thought about Karlee and her opening herself up and being honest.
Co-parenting isn’t ideal. I miss out on a lot with her too. Her mom misses out a lot. I’m sure Karlee would love to have her mom join us on trips, but that just doesn’t happen. There’s certainly a lot more responsibility when you’re the only one doing the raising. This isn’t just in my household either. I see this every day as a Custody Lawyer Chandler, AZ. There’s also a lot of personal time available to recharge which is a positive and can help. A couple days here and there to recharge, reset and realize what’s important. Ready to see their smiling face when you pick them up again as if for the very first time.
The hardest part about co-parenting isn’t being consistent with schedules or homework. That stuff usually works itself out. The hardest part about co-parenting is being consistent with love for your child which can be especially difficult when your ex is driving you crazy because they can’t keep a schedule and they don’t help your daughter out with their homework. Being consistent with love during times of frustration is immensely difficult.
It’s easy to talk poorly about your ex, fade into the darkness with television or a book or stuck fall face first into your phone. I wanted to talk about the love languages because they are an access point when loving your child. With Karlee, I remember that she loves quality time. And if I’m frustrated or tired or wanting to put off homework for another hour I can focus on her love language to make sure her cup is more full. We can go on a walk or to the park or binge watch Parks and Recreation on the couch. As long as we do it together she is happy.
In the summer of 1995 Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book that transcended love and dating in the 20th Century. The book, “The Five Love Languages,” outlined how individuals express and experience love. The five languages are: 1) Words of Affirmation; 2) Acts of Service; 3) Receiving Gifts; 4) Physical Touch; and 5) Quality Time. Dr. Chapman identifies that individuals will generally identify strongly with two of the five love languages and the most effective way to help them feel loved is by helping them experience or express their love language.
In 2016, Dr. Chapman wrote a follow up book titled, “The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively.” Unsurprisingly, our little humans reacted positively and identified with the same five love languages: 1) Words of Affirmation; 2) Acts of Service; 3) Receiving Gifts; 4) Physical Touch; and 5) Quality Time. Our children, like us, react positively and negatively to different stimuli and can be positively and negatively affected based on how we parent and co-parent. These ideas help me as a Custody Lawyer Chandler, AZ when talking to my clients.
Now, to be clear, understanding the love languages and using them won’t keep you from being an awful spouse or crappy parent. But, when used with intention they can be a gentle reminder to be proactive with your parenting rather than dwelling on something negative that happened between you and your ex or one of their family members. And, trust me, while I’ve never been divorced I’ve been a part of more divorces than I can count, and I went through my own, ugly enough, custody dispute.
The love languages work. First, find out your child or children’s love language. Then, use it. If they love quality time find something that both of you like to do and do it together. If they love acts of service, then help them pick up their room or help them with their homework. They’ll enjoy it and you’ll enjoy it too. Also, if you are present and immersed in those moments you’ll be too busy loving your little human to focus on your all too human ex-husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend.
As mentioned, it won’t help you and your ex co-parent, but using the love languages with your child will help you be a great parent and stay focused on what matters. If you have co-parenting questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free consultation at 480-565-8020. Citadel Law Firm, PLLC will be pleased to help you and your family with your Custody Lawyer Chandler, AZ needs.