The MOB Society

The Five Love Languages of Boys: Acts of Service

Love LanguagesNathan McCloskeyComment

What are some hints to look for if you suspect this is your boy’s love language?

One of my boys seems to want to be served a lot. We tease him because he’s the only one that often asks:  “Can you get me a glass of water?” Or “Can you scratch my back, Mom?” I used to think he was just being selfish, but then it occurred to me one day that in my busyness, and in my efforts to raise strong and independent boys, I do not personally “serve” this one very often. I began to recognize his requests as being a true cry for me to show him love. For me to slow down and pour him water was like telling him that I love him!  This also happens to be  the same son that, on my birthday, will get up in the dark morning hours and hang “Happy Birthday” signs for me, and make me breakfast to serve me in bed. So when I consider all of that, I realize that, indeed, this son’s love language is Acts of Service. | Monica Swanson

I have learned to see my son’s love language when he faces times of change or stress. While I learned to listen, he learned to express the longings that fill up his love tank. By telling me what he was hungry for, hoping for, or hankering for in hard times, he was teaching me how to speak love in the best ways to engage his heart. Acts of service nurture his confidence and provide comfort in times of transition or disappointment. Seeing how he responds to acts of service in tense times has taught me how to keep his tank filled day to day. | Julie Sanders 

Growing up, I didn't ask for much — I wasn't the kid who displayed his heart on his sleeve or who verbally expressed his needs. But even a casual observer of my life could quickly determine that my love language was acts of service by the way I served others. I washed dishes for my mom on a daily basis without being asked because I knew it would bless her. I was always one of the first to volunteer for the mundane jobs at church of setting up, tearing down, cleaning, etc. Often, you could find me at the kitchen table listening to those in my family who just needed to talk — giving them my time and support freely. I never asked for these kinds of "acts of service" in return, but it's important to note that when someone would go out of their way to serve me in aspect, that's when I felt most loved. You may discover your son's love language to be acts of service through what they ask you for — but, you can also find significant clues through how they are loving others! | Nate McCloskey

Tell us about some of the intentional ways you fill your boy’s love tank when it comes to acts of service?

Because I know one son feels loved when I serve him, I go out of my way to occasionally find some little extra acts of service I can do for him. Just packing his snacks before a surf contest (when I usually require him to pack his own) will make him feel loved. Bringing him a cup of hot cocoa or a special treat while he is doing his homeschool work will put a big smile on his face. Also, I find that really appreciating his acts of service makes him feel so loved. If he does something to serve me, I try to stop what I’m doing and really notice—and acknowledge—his efforts. | Monica Swanson

Speaking the love language of serving impacts my shopping list, my household chores, and my schedule. Starting in the pantry, I plan ahead for ingredients needed to say “love” to this boy. A little serving goes a long way, and his genuine appreciation confirms the language he loves. When I’m observant, I see opportunities to serve him in small ways that say, “I love you enough to lift your load.” Reading a paper. Running an errand. Changing his sheets (yes, he loves clean sheets). Baking his favorite cookies. By releasing my plans, I can make him a priority so he hears “I love you” loud and clear. | Julie Sanders

There are so many ways to show a boy he is loved in the ways that you serve him! During my childhood and adolescent years, I always felt blessed when my older sister (who is also very servant-hearted) would complete one of my chores for me or when my mom would make one of my favorite foods (#chickenparmesanforthewin). Really, food can be a big deal to an "acts of service boy" as we know how much time, effort, and love is poured into the snacks and meals you make for us. I also remember feeling very loved by my dad when he would work on a special project with me — it didn't have to be for school or church, it was simply something I wanted to do or make. And he would faithfully help me plan and execute whatever I had been dreaming up in my head alongside me. Now, this love language still pops up in my appreciation for my wife's service to our family when she cleans or does laundry, or even when she spends the day completing our errands. My boys really enjoy making my lunch for me and I love opening those extra-messy peanut butter sandwiches knowing that my boys poured a lot of love into them. | Nate McCloskey

What are some practical ways you can teach your boys to love others well while working within the strength of their love language, acts of service?

I encourage my son to use his love language to show his brothers his appreciation for them. I suggest he help his little brother with his chores, or go with an older brother who has to haul the garbage down our long driveway to the street. In this way, I have taught him that he is truly showing love with his actions. This helps him to understand and appreciate the way God has wired him. | Monica Swanson

Special occasions have been great opportunities to coach my boy to speak love in the ways he knows best. Since his heart is wired for service, spending money on gifts leaves him disappointed. When we ask for his help or share gift ideas, we use terms that translate “love” to him. Because we really want his love, we ask for his service. He doesn’t just bring me tea; he brings me tea on a thoughtfully prepared tray with cookies or fruit…enough to share! | Julie Sanders

When they are young, it's important to teach your boys to be sensitive to the needs of others. Help them think of creative ways to be a blessing with their service until they can recognize those opportunities on their own. You might encourage them to do a sibling's least favorite chore one day, or help them pick a volunteer job for an upcoming church or community event. And don't forget to ask for his help when you need it, but be willing to work a bit slower or a bit less perfectly than you might on your own. Seeing how his service impacts and encourages you in the moment can go a long way in strengthening this love language. You might also brainstorm and come up with a list of random acts of kindness that they can do for friends, family, or even strangers. This will pay off as they move into their teen and adult years as their radar for the needs of others will be finely tuned. | Nate McCloskey

WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES THAT WOULD BLESS BOYMOMS WHO HAVE SONS WITH THIS LOVE LANGUAGE?

Boys who speak the language of serving want to “do” something. My son loves to watch “how to” videos equipping him with little-known abilities to surprise and bless others. To help him broaden his serving vocabulary, he likes to know how things work, including planning our favorite family times. Give this boy music lessons, kitchen coaching, and garden guidance. He’ll get to work and offer something that says, “I love you!” You might want to start with The Dangerous Book for Boys or help your boy pick out a cookbook or “how to” book that catches his attention. Be sure he knows how to use the washer, work household gadgets, and pick out tools. I like these chore charts from Molly Maid that help service-hearted boys express affection, and these are designed with boys in mind. | Julie Sanders

My kids have all been inspired by stories of missionaries and how their lives have service have been a blessing to the multitudes. There are many good ones, but the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series is one that we have loved. | Monica Swanson

For younger boys, consider getting them a "real" but child-sized set of cleaning supplies or cooking utensils so they can help alongside you in housework or the kitchen! As they get older, those "service tools" can morph into their own toolset or car/yard work set. You could also give them a list of random acts of kindness, like this one from Coffee Cups and Crayons or check out these fun "Good Deed" coupons they can give to friends and family from Mom It Forward! | Nate McCloskey


This article on physical touch is the first article in a five-part series on The Love Languages of Boys. Click over here to read an overview on what this series covers, access a printable assessment for children and teens, and download your FREE printable Love Language Worksheet along with other resources!

JOIN THE NO MORE ANGRY MOM CHALLENGE AND WIN A COPY OF TRIGGERS!

Giveaway, Just for MomWendy SpeakeComment

With the youngest strapped into the grocery cart and his two big brothers at my heels, we made our way quickly through the aisles. All three of them were screaming bloody murder. Yes, I was “that mom,” and they were were “those kids.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have a choice. We only needed a few items from the store, but they were essentials—like toilet paper, diapers, and milk. There was no turning back.

It had been a long, wonderful afternoon of playdates and fun: we’d been to the park, a friend’s house, and Chick-fil-A for lunch. Obviously, my children needed to be home now, in a warm bath, with calm music and a calm mom. It was entirely my fault. I should have planned better. I knew, intellectually, that we were all just tired. Still…as they wailed and hit one another, cried for Goldfish and Sunny D, then ran from me like a pack of wild animals when it was time to check out, my emotions flared.

In my exhaustion (and my embarrassment) I turned angry. I grabbed for little wrists, gave a threatening glare, threw my money on the counter, and lectured my little ones all the way to the car. I strapped them in with angry words, matching them tear for tear, then loaded up the trunk. By the time I drove my minivan out of the parking lot, all three of them were fast asleep.

With shoulders shaking from my silent cries, I drove us home. Turning into our driveway, all I could do was bow my head and pray: “Dear Lord, why didn’t I pray first? I hate blowing up. Teach me to slow down and pray before my emotions get the better of me.”

This has been my prayer ever since. Perhaps it’s yours as well.

Many moms tell God all about their sorrows on the tail end of angry mothering moments, but we want to be women who go to Him before we lose our tempers. A prayer asking for help is always better than a prayer asking for forgiveness.

“You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:19-20, NIV)

Moms, God wants His righteousness shining in our lives, and He’s kind enough to tell us how to get it. We must learn to hold our tongues and listen…to Him.

I believe that our inability to do this very thing, and our tendency to spew angry words on our kids, is one of the biggest stumbling blocks standing in our way to righteousness. And so I keep on praying, “God, help me to pray first, before my emotions get the better of me. I want to be slow to speak to my kids, when I should be quick to listen to You!”

My dear friend (and fellow MOB Society writer) Amber Lia and I have developed a five-day challenge to help you slow down and pray before you unleash a tidal wave of ugly all over your loved ones.

When you've tried everything from natural consequences to spanking, yelling to whispering, how about you try this: Prayer!


Let's overcome our parenting TRIGGERS with
the peace-filled power of prayer—together.
JOIN OUR 5 DAY CHALLENGE!

Over the course of the next few days, we’ll address five of the most common triggers we face as moms—from our rushed mornings to our messy homes. Prayer is a powerful and effective tool when wielded by a woman desperate for His peace in her heart and home. Prayer enables us to turn the tide from angry reactions to gentle Biblical responses toward our children!

The key is praying first.

We challenge you to join us for the next five days as we journey through five transformative prayers to pray when you feel angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. In fact, for those who sign up TODAY (2/9/16), you'll be entered to win one of ten signed, paperback copies of Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses (releasing 2/16/16)! But don't wait — we'll be drawing those names tomorrow morning and emailing the winners, so be sure to click the button below and join us right away!


The Five Love Languages of Boys: Quality Time

Love LanguagesNathan McCloskeyComment

What are some hints to look for if you suspect this is your boy’s love language?

If your child likes to be by your side even during the most mundane of tasks, he might feel most loved through quality time. My four-year-old loves to watch and help me cook, clean the bathrooms, and run errands. He is the son that will always volunteer to come with me when I need to go out, even if it is simply walking to the mailbox. | Christie Thomas

My six-year-old’s favorite phrases are, “Watch me, Mommy!” and “Sit with me, Mommy!” and “Play with me, Mommy!”  Sometimes discovering a child’s love language is simply listening to what they are asking most of you. | Julie Brasington

“Mommy, come play legos with me…” “Mom, come hear this new song I learned on the guitar…” “Hey, watch me! I’ll get you a chair and you can sit on the driveway and watch me roller skate.” Oh, you know what I’m talking about, if your child speaks “quality time!” The first time I started understanding this love language was shortly after I married their father. “Hey, Babe, do you want to come to Home Depot with me?” Ummm...no. But the Holy Spirit was kind enough to whisper in my ear, “This isn’t about Home Depot, this is about showing your husband that you love him and want to be with him.” Needless to say, the apples didn’t fall far from the tree. | Wendy Speake

To recognize the love language of quality time, I think it is best to be intentionally aware of how kids respond to it when you give them time. While all kids appreciate their parents’ time and attention, some kids really light up and you just know that quality time is their language. My oldest son is very independent, and rarely asks for anything. Yet more recently, I began offering him chunks of time to work with him on some writing he is doing. After sitting side-by-side, editing his work, he was so thankful and happy. He kept thanking me all day. I had no idea how much that “quality time” would mean to this boy! Since that day, we both know that when time allows, one of our very favorite things to do together is hide away and edit one of his stories. It fills his love tank, and—as you can guess—I love every minute of it! Sometimes we don’t know our kids’ love languages until we just start trying things! You never know when you might hit the jackpot! | Monica Swanson

I had a hard time realizing this was my oldest son’s love language. He was a fussy baby, difficult to put to sleep, but not at all a “snuggler.” As he grew, he was quiet, and I found he could easily entertain himself as long as I was nearby. This proved immensely beneficial as we added another baby to the family. So I was hard put to know what this lovely child really needed from me, as he seemed so independent. Yet, much as he could self-entertain, he would frequently ask me to play with him, which I’d try to accommodate, or I’d have a genuinely good reason why I couldn’t (dirty diaper, feeding time, getting in the car, etc). One day, he asked me to play, and in my busy-mom fashion, I tried to multi-task, while also surreptitiously picking up toys along the way. My son stopped me and said, “Mom! You’re not playing, you’re organizing!” Caught! That’s when it hit me that he really just wanted me to be very present with him in these playtime moments—not distracted, not rushed, but just with him. He didn’t mind if I didn’t “play hard” as long as I was in the moment with him. It’s changed the way I interact with him, and I now purposefully set aside distractions whenever we play together. | Julie Kieras

Tell us about some of the intentional ways you fill your boy’s love tank when it comes to quality time?

Oliver is my middle son, so I have to be extra intentional about making time for just the two of us. I allow him to help with household tasks, even though it usually slows me down! I invite him to join me when running errands, and try not to go crazy reading the same book over and over. He also has a lot of trouble letting me go when I need to go to work. I have learned that if I can take a few minutes to spend with just Oliver, he separates much more easily. | Christie Thomas

My firstborn loves to have an audience. Whether that be watching him play basketball, or perform Beatbox, or commentate a Nascar race he sets up in his bedroom, the best gift I can give him is my undivided attention. This can be hard for me, because I am such a do-er (you can read more about my struggle and surrender in this article)!  But intentionally carving out small, realistic pockets to say ‘yes’ to him and set my phone/computer/laundry aside is one way that I am able to fill his little love tank. | Julie Brasington

My quality-time kid loves having family traditions to look forward to—pancakes on Saturday mornings, birthday bowling dates, Friday night pizza, ice cream party on the last day of school, etc. Traditions mean time spent together—which is what quality-time kids love! | Julie Brasington

Homeschooling my kid who loves quality time has been tricky for me. We spend so much time together that I’m eager for him to go play on his own when the work is through. But, what he really wants is some special one-on-one time doing something fun. So I now plan little outings for us to do at the end of every homeschool week. It takes forethought, planning, and sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice. That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned when it comes to loving any of my kids intentionally. Because loving others based on their needs, not our own—speaking their primary love language, not our own—is a sacrifice. I have to remind myself daily to stop giving love in the way I would like it given to me, in my natural mother tongue. Instead, I must purposefully choose to love in ways that aren’t as comfortable for me, but minister deeply to their little hearts. | Wendy Speake

Gary Chapman says, “Togetherness has to do with focused attention,” and that’s the aspect I was missing previously. Now I aim to be focused when we play together, often by simply asking questions or setting aside distractions like my phone or even my busy thoughts! I like to use my youngest son’s naptime to spend with my oldest as much as I can. Even if we just read side by side on the bed, he enjoys me being there with him doing the activity we both love. Although getting down on the floor and playing isn’t my strong point, when we are actively playing, I ask him what my role should be in the game; I can tell by his shining eyes and smile that he appreciates me being wholly in the moment with him. | Julie Kieras (Source: Speaking the Love Language of Quality Time)


What are some practical ways you can teach your boys to love others well while working within the strength of their love language, quality time?

I think a great thing to encourage in a quality-time child is teaching them to ask people questions. This fosters conversation, which can bring about meaningful moments. I also think quality-time kids can use their desire to be with people as a way to comfort those who are hurting. Sometimes it’s good to just sit quietly and be! | Julie Brasington

My teenage son whose love language is quality time has begun practicing this by giving people his time and attention as well. He has practiced asking other people questions (something typically not easy for a teen!) and being a good listener. He has realized how much people appreciate someone showing interest in their lives, and he gets great satisfaction out of blessing people with that gift. | Monica Swanson

One thing I work on with my son is talking about how everyone doesn’t like the play the same way or the same game. That his brother or friends might want to do something active and busy while he wants to be quiet, or vice versa. I want him to see that, as much as he enjoys quality time with people he loves, he should also invest his time into others as well to meet their love needs. | Julie Kieras

WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES THAT WOULD BLESS BOYMOMS WHO HAVE SONS WITH THIS LOVE LANGUAGE?

My quality-time boy appreciates getting new sports balls, games, puzzles, books, and anything that requires more than one person to participate with the gift. | Julie Brasington

Teaching my children to love one another well when they all speak different languages is a challenge, too. Here’s an article I wrote about the awkwardness and the awesomeness of it all. | Wendy Speake

A few years ago I wrote this guest article for Melissa & Doug about improving sibling play with cooperative toys. I think any kind of game or toy that allows for multiple users/players is going to increase the focused attention and interaction between you and your child (or that child and their siblings), thus creating a great sense of quality in the time they are spending with you, siblings, or friends. Puzzles, board games, and building blocks (or LEGO bricks!) are examples of toys that allow for multiple users, but also require greater focused attention and interaction. Thus, your child will likely experience greater satisfaction in the quality of the time they spend with you, a sibling, or a friend. | Julie Kieras


This article on physical touch is the first article in a five-part series on The Love Languages of Boys. Click over here to read an overview on what this series covers, access a printable assessment for children and teens, and download your FREE printable Love Language Worksheet along with other resources!

The The Five Love Languages of Boys: Words of Affirmation

Love LanguagesNathan McCloskeyComment

What are some hints to look for if you suspect this is your boy’s love language?

Words of affirmation are my least talkative boy’s love language, so I have to really be attuned to him and his needs. In the midst of four boys, it’s easy for this one to get overlooked. If your quietest is your puzzle, try spending some one-on-one time with him, just hanging out while he does something he really enjoys. Food is particularly important for my hungry bunch, and I discovered that this son will open up over a meal, especially if it’s just the two of us. I shared this with my oldest son, who later took the youngest brother to a burger place and was amazed when he opened up over a milkshake! | Laura Lee Groves

Sometimes in the middle of focusing on one son, and something truly worthy of praise, another son will interrupt awkwardly and start talking about something he has recently done in school or sports.  My first reaction is usually to stop him and point out how rude that was.  (And yes, some correction is needed.)  However, I also realize then that this is a sign that this boy’s love tank is not adequately filled.  So though I still might correct his method for getting attention, I will make a mental note that I need to work on affirming this son more. | Monica Swanson

It didn't take long for me to pick up on the fact that encouraging words was my middle son’s love language. So often he would bring me something he built with Legos or a picture he had colored and he would beg me for affirmation that he had done the project well. | Monica Leigh

My oldest boy takes great pains to show me or share with me anything he’s proud of. Sometimes it’s a lego creation. Sometimes it’s the fact that he’s finished a book.  My other boys don’t offer these “bids” for attention. I realized that he needs me to verbally approve of him and build him up.  | Jessica Bowman

Tell us about some of the intentional ways you fill your boy’s love tank when it comes to words of affirmation.

My son who thrives on words of affirmation is a doer. He loves to build and make and help. It’s easy to thank him, but it’s also easy to forget in all the hustle and bustle of four boys. I decided once I had a house full of boys that, even though I expected them to do certain things, there was no reason I couldn’t thank them for it -- in fact, there was every reason TO thank them. So I just resolved to thank them for every little thing. Their response, especially this son’s, is worth every word. Sometimes it’s just a smile or a light in his eyes, but I see it, and I love it. It says “love” to me. | Laura Lee Groves

I like to keep a small pad of Post-Its on the counter next to where I prep my boys’ lunches so that I  can jot a handwritten note of encouragement for them to find at lunchtime while they are at school. Here are some super cute free ones! | Julie Brasington

I love to “catch” my sons doing good things….Things that show character, maturity, and self control. Then I will just speak words directly to that son affirming what I saw, how much character that required, and how I realize he is really growing up when he acts like that. The smile that spreads across his face is all the evidence I need to know that Words of Affirmation are his love language! | Monica Swanson

I try to affirm him before he asks for it while he is playing or creating something. And at the end of the day, while I am tucking him into bed I tell him how glad I am that he is my son, that he is a blessing! | Monica Leigh

When he approaches me, giving him my full focus is important—which always means dropping what I’m doing. I think it’s important for praise to not be overly generic and rote, so I avoid phrases like “Good job!”  For example, if he’s showing me his Lego creation, I ask him questions. “What does this piece do?” “That’s awesome, man, what made you think of adding that?” Thoughtfully engaging him goes a long way. | Jessica Bowman


What are some practical ways you can teach your boys to love others well while working within the strength of their love language, words of affirmation?

This is hard, because the son whose love language is words of affirmation is my quietest son; he has the least to say of all of my boys. He’s also the youngest, so I think basically he has a hard time getting a word in edgewise. When he was younger, I’d prompt him and his brothers, even to thank Dad for taking us out to eat. It’s important for him to see that the words that mean so much to him mean a lot to others, too. I’ve also tried to be proactive and had him write a short note or an email to thank someone when they’re not around. | Laura Lee Groves

One thing we do is teach all of our boys to use words of affirmation, whether it is specifically their “gift” or not.  Obviously, this might come most naturally to the ones who identify with Words of Affirmation as their main love language, but I think it is important for everyone to practice using words to encourage and build others up. On birthdays and other special days we will focus on one family member as we each take turns speaking words of affirmation to that person. It is so great to see each of the boys learning to articulate the things they most value and appreciate about one another. This also gives them practice being comfortable practicing the art of spoken affirmations! | Monica Swanson

We tell him to encourage his  friends and family. He does it so naturally. Any time we overhear him encouraging his brothers or friends, we thank him for loving others and for being such an encourager. | Monica Leigh

Funnily, my boy who needs affirmation is the one most often expressing annoyance with his brothers. The golden rule never goes out of style: helping him to put himself in another's shoes and realize how words would make him feel. | Jessica Bowman

“One thing to shepherd in the hearts of children who love words of affirmation is to point them away from their own efforts/craving for approval and to the good work of Jesus on their behalf. Sometimes a Words child is so easily satisfied by a ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy,’ but I like to praise them more specifically by saying, “I see God working in your life!” This helps children gain a perspective that celebrates Christ and what He is doing in their little lives!” | Julie Brasington

WHAT ARE SOME RESOURCES THAT WOULD BLESS BOYMOMS WHO HAVE SONS WITH THIS LOVE LANGUAGE?

As mamas, we get the high calling of being the voice our kids hear the most while they are little. The older they get, the more voices they will hear (and this world carries a lot of voices that sound like death), so I am trying to focus now on speaking words to my boys that bring life to their hearts.  I want them to learn now how to rehearse truth-filled phrases in their minds when tempted by the enemy to head down a destructive mental path. Here are some of the little life-giving phrases I have used with my boys over the years. | Julie Brasington

A post I wrote, “Parenting: The Power of Our Words” is related to how we speak to our kids, but also has the overflow effect of impacting how our kids use their words. This might be helpful for parents who do not necessarily have the love language of words of affirmation, but could improve in this area to better meet their kids’ needs. | Monica Swanson

These are two books my teenage boys are reading — both offer practical and insightful suggestions on inter-relational skills. Though not necessarily faith-based, these books are full of wisdom and many stories that inspire us to use our words for good and to build up, bless, and ultimately live peacefully with others. | Monica Swanson

I love this list and printable of 100 ways to praise a child. | Monica Leigh

This image/pin is great because it focuses on words. It’s important to remember that those with the love language of words of affirmation are also much more sensitive to negative words. | Jessica Bowman


This article on physical touch is the first article in a five-part series on The Love Languages of Boys. Click over here to read an overview on what this series covers, access a printable assessment for children and teens, and download your FREE printable Love Language Worksheet along with other resources!

The Five Love Languages of Boys: Physical Touch

Love LanguagesNathan McCloskeyComment

What are some hints to look for if you suspect this is your boy’s love language?

Physical touch might be your son’s love language if he tries to gain attention in physical ways. My six-year-old, Ethan, starts to hit, poke, squeeze, lick, stick his fingers up my nose...if it connects his body with mine, you can bet he’s tried it! On the flip side, he’s also the son that will give me a hug the minute he sees that I’m struggling. | Christie Thomas

My boy wasn’t able to go to sleep at night until I held him for a few minutes. He also frequently requests me to pick him up, tickle his back, scratch his head, and sometimes he calls the whole gang of us in for a “Family Hug.” | Julie Brasington

It came as a surprise to me when my third son always wanted to hold my hand or sit on my lap. His brothers never did that! He’s my “cuddler” for sure and derives a sense of love and comfort by sitting closely, playing with my hair, or giving me frequent hugs! I love every minute of it! | Amber Lia

As my oldest son was not a snuggler, I was unprepared for what a little snuggle bug my second boy turned out to be! He seeks out nearly constant contact with myself or my husband in large and small ways. As soon as he could sit in a high chair, he’d lean over during nearly every meal and loop his arm around my neck. He would then continue eating with his other hand while remaining draped across my shoulder! At three-and-a-half he still does this often! | Julie Kieras

I asked my oldest son when he feels most loved by mommy and he smiled a huge smile and replied, “When you snuggle with me!” I always try to make a point to snuggle him while he is still small enough for me to hold him. | Monica Leigh

Tell us about some of the intentional ways you fill your boy’s love tank when it comes to physical touch.

I will walk around with my arm draped heavily around Ethan’s shoulder, or pull him in for a very tight, long hug. I also let him give me the most terribly painful high-fives he can muster! | Christie Thomas

My second son absolutely loves our special snuggle time before bed each night. He is almost four years old and I still rock him to sleep! I also like to reach back and tickle his legs when we are waiting at red lights. | Julie Brasington

Even though he’s getting heavier (He’s four!) I carry him for short distances when we are out and about. I often rest my fingers on the back of his neck or shoulders if I’m standing and talking with another adult, in order to keep that connection and make him feel loved. | Amber Lia

Although he’s quick to rush over to hug and snuggle me, I’ve learned he is just delighted if I beat him to the punch. So if he’s playing or nearby, I try to sneak in extra hugs when he’s not asking for them. He will giggle with sheer delight, and relish a few moments with his head buried in my neck before returning to his play. | Julie Kieras

Right before putting my oldest son to bed (six years old) I will sometimes rock him in the rocking chair. He nuzzles in and we talk about his day. It has become a favorite time for him. | Monica Leigh

What are some practical ways you can teach your boys to love others well while working within the strength of their love language, physical touch?

My son’s friend was complaining to his mother that Ethan was grabbing and hugging him, which he didn’t appreciate. I reminded my sweet boy that not everyone likes to be touched that way, and that he needed to respect his friend’s boundaries. Then we brainstormed ideas where they could still touch and be friends — high-fives featured quite prominently on the list. I also started giving him more touch-love at home, which I have had to remind myself to do because touch is the least of my own love languages. | Christie Thomas

When they are still preschoolers, it’s hard for them to control themselves and my sweet boy often throws himself onto people which can be startling! Right before we enter Sunday School class or go to a park, I affirm him for his warm and friendly approach toward others and model what a gentle hug feels and looks like! | Amber Lia

Since his physical loving can often be rough, I’ve had to talk with my son about using gentle hands. We often practice the concept of gentle hands when playing with his toys, or when making pizza during our weekly pizza night. We also do a lot of high-fives and thumbs-up “love” to encourage some non-touching gestures of affection for him to use with friends outside the family. | Julie Kieras

Since he is still young, I have to often remind him to be gentle with others and to respect his friends’ personal space. He can get too eager and be too rough. We encourage self-control and fist bumps. | Monica Leigh

What are some resources that would bless BoyMoms who have sons with this love language?

A heavy weighted blanket can help children with sensory issues, and can also help a child that constantly needs to be touched. Weighted blankets can be bought for nighttime use, or as a lap-mat to use when sitting. | Christie Thomas

I love this article that Lifeway published giving a list of ways to love on your child with physical touch. | Monica Leigh

My son loves to hold this small animal blanket— it’s small enough to carry around and because they come in a 2 pack, I can wash one while he keeps the other with him! | Amber Lia

I have always loved this idea of the PlayMat shirt! It’s made for grownups, but it could be a way to allow little boys to engage in purposeful physical play with us by running their cars and trains on our backs. A "gentle hands" discussion would definitely be needed for this one! | Julie Kieras


This article on physical touch is the first article in a five-part series on The Love Languages of Boys. Click over here to read an overview on what this series covers, access a printable assessment for children and teens, and download your FREE printable Love Language Worksheet along with other resources!