Buckets and Love languages---Oh my!

Monday, November 29, 2010
DSC_6708
(an image from my photo shoot with Harry)


So remember a few weeks ago one of the peanuts told me he felt unloved?   Well, we had a tough couple of weeks with that guy.  He was rude and disrespectful and talking back.  He brought me to tears with some hurtful things in a few week period.  This particular peanut is usually a real sweetie (although they all have their moments).

I knew he was not feeling great.  I knew I needed to make him feel better.  I FIRMLY believe that kids who feel badly behave badly and vice versa.  So, I cooked him his favorite meals.  I poured on the praise when I caught him doing something praise worthy.  I ordered him a special book that is out of print but I knew he would love.  It was all to no avail.  Said peanut was still out of sorts.  He was still behaving pretty badly.

I was truly at my wits end. I mean I was really, really down. Then a friend loaned me a book called How Full is Your Bucket for Kids.  The general concept is that we all have invisible buckets full of water above our head and when something bad happens or we get in trouble or we are mean or someone is mean to us, water drips out of our bucket.  When our bucket is empty, we tend to be negative.  And when our bucket is full we are positive.   I knew of this concept and whole heartedly agree with it.  So, I read this book to my young man. I asked Harry this particular peanut how his bucket was and he said, "EMPTY!"  I reminded him of the special meals I cooked, the book I bought him, the praise.  Still, he felt empty.

Then I remembered Love Languages.  Love languages are the ways we communicate and feel loved.  Some people feel loved through acts of service (cooking the meal). Others feel love from receiving gifts (the book).  Some need words of praise.  For others physical affection communicates love.  And finally, some people feel loved through one on one quality time together.  And yes, that is Harry's love language.  Harry's bucket only feels full when I do special things one on one with him.  So, even though I was trying to show him how much I loved him, I was not speaking his language.

And I will be brutally honest. Unfortunately, Harry gets the least quality one on one time with me sometimes.  See, I get one on one time with Kate because she is in school less than the boys.  And I get one on one time with Will when Harry is at Judo 3 times a week or baseball 2 times a week.  Dave takes Harry to Judo.  Harry is the busiest person in our family.  He plays two sports and has a very busy social life.  So, with 3 kids at 3 schools, a husband, two dogs and a household to manage, I was not making a lot of one on one time with Harry.  Truthfully, it is very difficult to squeeze it all in.

We  are changing that.  We are reading a book together every night now (even if he gets home late from Judo).  We have had a few dates in the past week.  I am trying really hard to find small moments to focus just on him.  And guess what?  He told me he his bucket is really full!!!  

Yesterday, we had a date where we went to a park dowtown and took still life photos and out of the blue he put his arms around me and hugged me tight.  Harry never does that.  He filled my bucket.

Of course, Will is now a wee bit jealous of some of the time Harry is getting so now I need to focus on his love language and bucket filling. Seriously, how do you parents of 9 kids do it?

And as an aside, Harry is an incredible photographer.  He got some awesome shots that I plan to post.  He really has a natural eye (way better than mine).

( I have no deal with either of these books or Amazon at all---but I highly recommend How full is your bucket for kids and Love Languages.  I have the grown up Love Languages book and find it very helpful to all relationships.)

26 comments:

  1. Wonderful post... I've never thought about love languages for OUR CHILDREN...

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  2. What a fantastic post! I don't have kids I think the love language applies to all sorts of relationships. THanks for sharing!

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  3. Hi Kim...this post rang true with me. I am one of 7 kids...Mum had a 7yearold, 5yearold, 3yearold, 1yearold and baby twins. Then a late baby came along! I know she did struggle to give us one to one (who wouldnt with all of us!) but we all knew she tried her best AND I always felt loved. That being said, I would really have enjoyed more time with her on my own. You are doing a fantastic job. D

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  4. Both of those books are wonderful!! It's impossible to be the perfect bucket filler as a mom, but it seems like you do a pretty good job!
    Stacy

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  5. I love LOVE this concept! This is actually something that we do at our school. In our classrooms we even have tiny buckets that the students try to fill. We encourage them to be "bucket fillers." I can't even begin to tell you the amazing results we have had from this. A swarm of positive energy fills each room. The children feel such a sense of accomplishment for doing the right thing and it truly has made a difference in our school. I hope that this positive outlook on life helps your lil peanut feel better soon. :)

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  6. The poor little guy! So glad you figured out his love language! Enjoy your one on one time with him!

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  7. I so glad he's feeling full again.
    I can understand how it can be difficult to fit everything in, but I really commend you for making a change in priorities when you become aware that a change is needed.

    And I was gonna say, both the bucket and language seems like good ideas to apply to any kind of relationship, not just mother-son. At least you gave me some new perspectives to think about. Thank you :)

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  8. My love language is also time spent together. Frankly, I think it is one of the toughest to meet in our busy society now. (But maybe that's just me whining because it IS my language.) Good on you for figuring things out and making it a priority.

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  9. I think the longer you can prolong reading before bed with your children the better for everyone. My husband and I took turns reading with our 3 until they were about in 4th grade. I wish we had kept it up longer. Now I cherish the 2 hour car ride when I pick my oldest up from college. Your children are so fortunate that you are finding what makes their buckets full.

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  10. I have heard of the bucket theory and it is so true! Love languages is very good. Thanks for the info. I know my girl is happiest when we spend a lot of time together. Great photo. Can't wait to see more!

    Janet

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  11. Well...YOU are speaking MY language right now...my youngest (13) is really going through a negative phase, and it has been very strong since Lucy came home and his "baby" status in our family changed. I will definitely be checking these books out Kim...thank you so much for sharing this~xoxo

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  12. I am with Harry on the love language. Although my husband doing things for me is really great too! ;)

    Glad everything is working out with the little man.

    Jill

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  13. I love this post!
    This is why you have hundreds of followers...you get it and can put it in to words. Well done!

    I am curious about these books...I wonder if I can figure out my kid's love languages. I fear they will all want one on one time and am afraid I can't deliver. Lots to think about!

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  14. Just so you know, I think God has used you to help me! This post is so timely, and so encouraging. I'm having some of the same issues with my 10 year old son (oldest of 3) and I have just ordered both of those books to help me figure out how to best make him feel loved, and to express what's bothering him. Thank you!

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  15. My four kids are (mostly) grown, but we were aware that we probably gave J2 the least amount of attention because she demanded little from us with a happy disposition and we gave too much negative attention to J3. It's hard to find a balance and when you have more than two kids, you basically wake up one parent short everyday (or in our case, two parents short).

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  16. Great post Kim.It also made me cry (Harry's hug)
    Happy to hear everything is working out. I've read the Love Languages but never heard of How full is your bucket. I'll download it to my kindle. Thanks for sharing

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  17. A beautiful, honest post Kim, one I am sure will speak to many a mom. Its a huge service you do sharing your parenting discoveries.

    My parents gave me the love language book years ago after hearing the author speak at their church and it helped alot with the transition from kids needs to teenager needs, which was so hard for me. .affection is no problem and words but the 'service'..doing chores 'just' for etc that britton needs now is very hard on me. And letting all the affection go was hard too.

    (also, I read a book a few years ago about 'not enough apples in my basket to give away" for moms..concept sounds like the bucket. So glad harry is such a communicator and you keep going till you find ways to help him too.

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  18. Will be buying these for my new Kindle that I *hope* Santa will be bringing me. Wonderful insight and I'm so glad Harry's bucket is replenished and yours too! :)

    I LOVE the photo - excellent!

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  19. Sounds like a great book. Lottie and I have both been out of sorts for weeks. Not together...but separately Of course, when you put two out of sorts people together....it is pretty messy. Maybe our buckets are empty? I will begin working on this right away! Thanks so much Kim:)

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  20. I have been having much trouble with my middle guy also...I cannot tell you what a relief it is to read this post ~ I am running out to buy this! Thanks you SO much!

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  21. Thanks for such a thought provoking post. I have four kids of my own and it's amazing how different they all are and how they respond to things differently.
    I love to check out books that really helped others. Thanks you so much for suggesting them!

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  22. Love this! What a great lesson fo all of us. It is so jar to make sure everyones bucket is full, but think of how much more efficiently you can fill them when you know what language to speak. I have that book but haven't read it. You've inspired me!

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  23. I'm glad to hear Harry is feeling better. Thanks for this post. I need to read this book so I can use these tools as Kerry grows. Right now, I think her love language is, unfortunately, Cheetos.

    Gin =)

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  24. It is very hard to manage it all and keep the household in balance.....I know Emmie feels the most left out.....I try to be with her when I can.....whether it is watching a TV show together or going into her room to talk to her....even texting her that I love her during school.....sigh....being a Momma is the toughest job there is.....imo! ;)

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  25. О! Necesidad de mantener las pruebas de mi blog. No funciona como yo lo quiero todavía. Thx por el tema. Tal vez esto lo mío para mirar mejor.

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  26. kim- have I mentioned that I think you are such a great mom? my neice has two toddlers and I am going to send her to your blog, I think there is so much she can learn about what lies ahead, and how to handle it with grace from you. I have never heard of Love Languages, but it makes so much sense. thank you!

    joan

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Thank you for your kindness.