This article talks about one of the love languages, acts of service, and how it is linked to social learning.
“Acts of service” is very much linked to social learning. At a younger age, children tend to copy what we do, even though they may not be able to do it properly. For example, a small child can hold a piece of stick and act as though they are mopping the floor. In reality, the floor might be already clean. This is a simple yet classic example of social learning.
How Do Parents Use this Love Language? In fact, you are serving your child at almost every moment. The younger your child is, the more you serve. It can be as easy as tying their hair or cooking their meal. This love language is commonly and frequently given when your child is young, because you have to help them with certain tasks until they are capable of doing them on their own.
As our child grows older, we as parents naturally want our child to be more independent. Thus, how do we prevent ourselves from “over-helping” them, and how do we find a balance between spoiling our child and providing them with acts of service? Instead of jumping at your child’s every request, you can be sensitive to their needs and listen to what they have to say. For example, when you sense your child feeling down, you can make them their favorite meal.
Slowly, as they mature, we can start to guide them by including them in some of the “acts of service”. For example, instead of preparing the meal for them, get them to help out and involve them in the process of cooking.
An Important Note for Parents
One common trap parents easily fall into is by giving commands rather than inviting their child to do the task together. For example, instead of saying “You have to start washing your own dishes after meals”, it can be rephrased into “Can you help me by washing the dishes after dinner?” There is no longer a command, and the ownership of the task is instead shared between both you and your child.
Do take note that as we are “serving” our children, it is also important that we give them the chance to learn become independent. Hence, we need to adjust how we show our “acts of service” according to age appropriateness.