Book Review : The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers
The Secret to Loving Teens Effectively
by Gary Chapman
At no other time have parents, teachers, and mentors been more desperate to find proven ways to reach teens. In response, best-selling author Gary Chapman presents The Five Love Languages of Teenagers — practical guidance on how to discover and express the teen’s primary love language. It is a tangible resource for stemming the tide of violence, immorality, and despair engulfing many teens today.
(Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
The original novel, The 5 Love Languages, introduces the idea that each person has a primary way in which they prefer to receive love. If we want to express our love for someone that will be done most effectively if spoken or shown in their preferred love language. The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers is based on the same premise, but specifies different examples of how to show love that would be appropriately directed towards a teenager. For example, if a teen’s favorite love language is touch they probably loved cuddling as a small child but would reject this same affection as a teen. Instead the teen might prefer a hand on a shoulder, a high five or something else that fits their personality.
The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers has a few good additions, but I felt like it was lacking the stories that were instructional and the dose of realism when working with teens. Dr. Chapman talks about speaking the teens love language and this will solve the problem. My question is what do you do when the teen wants to rebel? What if the teen is actively rejecting his/her parents belief system? What if a teen is intentionally trying to be awful?
One of Chapman’s best pieces of advice is to accept the teen while correcting the behavior, however, the problem is that most teens who are acting out won’t feel loved when their behavior is corrected. Teenagers are seeking for independence, similar to a two year old. The teens need to have a safe environment and sometimes they will not like the rules parents make to keep that safe environment. As I have raised my own kids I have found that many parents are more interested in being a friend rather than a parent. That is a recipe for the children being in charge and ultimately a disaster.
Another great idea that Chapman offers is to hold a family forum prior to your child becoming a teenager. In the forum you set out the idea that the child will want to be more independent, and that independence is dependent upon responsibility. The adult, with the child’s input, sets out the parameters of what that child will be expected to do to receive the independence they desire. I felt like this was a good book and I recommend it and it does offer some insights beyond what he originally wrote.