We have recently been studying the five love languages in our Sunday School class. We’ve discussed words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch. I’ve connected with all of them on different levels with the least being physical touch. I simply am not a touchy kind of gal.
I blame the fact that I had four small children and spent days being constantly touched, climbed on and pulled in multiple directions. I like my personal space and I don’t prefer my personal bubble to be breached. It’s tricky at times to have the least of your love languages be physical touch. It’s a conscious effort to ensure I am not neglecting this language in those I love.
Although I would rather be left alone, I make sure to hold my husband’s hand and offer many kisses goodbye. I make sure to pat my child’s head as I pass, give extra squeezes and kisses goodnight. Even though they don’t fill my love tank much, it doesn’t mean those actions don’t fill theirs.
Show affection to your children. Sometimes the smallest gestures can leave the biggest impact. Squeeze their shoulder as you walk by and nonverbally remind them you are there. Kiss them goodbye in the morning and goodnight in the evening giving them the reassurance of your love.
In the book, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, he discusses the power of physical touch on communicating love. This stands true in our friendships, marriages and with our children. The connection made with a physical embrace, pat on the shoulder or handshake conveys a message to the recipient. A message of support, compassion, strength and love.
In a home with foster children it can sometimes be tricky to walk the fine line of this love language. We want to give the physical reassurance to the children in our case, but we also want to respect personal boundaries and avoid any triggers. Physical touch can be as emotionally damaging as it is rewarding. So although the majority of the time it is surrounded with positive intent and leaves a loving impression, that is not always the case.
You know your children, and the children in your home, and should act according to their history and needs. In the correct context, and used appropriately, physical touch is a bonding mechanism that supports relationships and emotional health.