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By Kathy Peel

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Chapman, each person has a primary love language that especially communicates love to him or her. Your child will feel most loved through one of these means: hearing words of affirmation, receiving gifts or acts of service, spending quality time with you, or feeling your physical touch. Thus, your child may not sense your love if you are expressing it in a “language” she doesn’t understand. [Love] both gives and receives, and in giving it receives. —Thomas Merton It is the parents’ job to know the primary love languages of their children, no matter what age, and deliver affection in that lingo.

In the present chapter, we will look at two important issues for which our children need to be personally prepared: boundaries and independence. In other words, as they move toward independence and autonomy, they need to know where to draw the line and who’s going to draw it. RITE OF PASSAGE Although many cultures in the world honor a child’s “graduation” into adulthood through rite-of-passage ceremonies, in our country we tend to ignore the event. This means we fail to signal to a child that he or she is now an adult, entitled to all the benefits and responsibilities thereof.

The following five guidelines helped pave the way for a close relationship with each of our boys. Interestingly, now that two of them are out on their own and one is on his way to college, we’ve realized that the same five objectives still apply, and continue to guide us as our role has shifted from parenting Build a Bridge Between Generations 27 to closing the gap and becoming a mentor and friend, although now we express them in different ways. I encourage you, along with us, to make these your guidelines as well.

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