250: Recognizing Children’s Unique Love Languages, with Emily Hamblin

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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In this episode of Beautifully Complex, I’m talking with Emily Hamblin about the unique ways neurodivergent kids might show their love for you. Emily shares her personal journey of recognizing and appreciating her children’s unique love languages, discussing the impact of neurodivergent traits on their communication of love and care. The conversation delves into the concept of love languages, emphasizing the importance of understanding and embracing the individual ways in which children express and receive love.

Throughout the episode, Emily provides insights and practical tips for parents to recognize and incorporate their children’s love languages into daily interactions. The discussion also explores the significance of celebrating small victories in parenting and the value of recognizing and acknowledging children’s expressions of love and care.

3 Key Takeaways


Understanding Love Languages: Recognizing and understanding your children’s love languages is essential for meaningful communication and connection. Each child may have different ways of expressing and receiving love, and being aware of these individual preferences can strengthen the parent-child relationship.


Celebrating Small Victories: Acknowledging and celebrating small victories in parenting, such as teaching independence and recognizing effort instead of just the outcome, can have a profound impact on children’s growth and confidence.


Neurodiversity and Love Languages: Neurodivergent children may have unique love languages influenced by sensory preferences and communication styles. It’s crucial for parents to observe and understand how their neurodivergent children express and receive love, and to adapt their parenting approach to support these individual needs.

What You'll Learn

You will learn about the concept of love languages for children and how to recognize and understand your child’s unique love language, allowing you to tailor your expressions of love accordingly.

You will gain actionable strategies for identifying your child’s love language, such as starting with one love language that resonates the most and observing how your child receives different love languages in their daily life.

You will understand the importance of celebrating small victories in parenting, appreciating effort rather than just the outcome, and teaching independence in children through a growth mindset approach.

You will learn about the impact of sensory preferences, such as proprioceptive input, on love languages for neurodivergent children, and how recognizing and understanding these preferences can positively influence family dynamics

You will discover the significance of recognizing and acknowledging your child’s expressions of love and care, including acts of service, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation, and how to incorporate these into your interactions with your children.


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My Guest

Emily Hamblin

Emily Hamblin is a neurodivergent mom to 4 children aged 1-12, former foster mom, and certified teacher that’s worked with more than 1,000 kids across the globe. Working closely with neurodivergent, highly sensitive, and other emotionally intense children has given her the opportunity to apply and develop out-of-the-box, compassionate tools to better help parents help their children navigate their emotions. She is passionate about helping moms to have greater emotional health, more peace at home and better relationships with their child, so their children can have a brighter future.



Emily Hamblin [00:00:03]: I find with my kids, sometimes they are going to communicate this to me differently. They might say, mom, Mom. Mom. Mom. And that might actually be them communicating love. They're trying to connect using words, and that's their way of showing me love. My instinct is to be very annoyed and to be upset with them. And I can override that and go, wow.

Emily Hamblin [00:00:25]: My child is showing me love right now.

Penny Williams [00:00:30]: Welcome to the Beautifully Complex podcast where I share insights and strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids straight from the trenches. I'm your host, Penny Williams. I'm a parenting coach, author, and mindset mama, honored to guide you on the journey of raising your atypical kid. Let's get started.

Penny Williams [00:00:53]: Welcome back to the Beautifully Complex podcast. I am really excited today to have Emily Hamblin here with me to talk about children's unique love languages, which we were just talking about before we started, is a topic I don't think we've covered in over 200 episodes here Beautifully Complex. I'm really, really excited to dive into this and also to learn it for myself. So if you will start, Emily, just by letting everybody know who you are and what you do, and then we'll dive in.

Emily Hamblin [00:01:23]: Well, first of all, Penny, thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited to connect with you and be able to be on your show. But, in terms of who I am, like you said, my name's Emily Hamblin, and I am a mom of 4 kids. Their oldest is 12. The youngest is 2. So we're still in that phase of parenting.

Penny Williams [00:01:41]: Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:01:41]: And I didn't know for years that Most of my children were neurodivergent. They're also twice exceptional. They were doing quite well in school, and I was just seeing a lot of really difficult behaviors at home.

Penny Williams [00:01:53]: Mhmm.

Emily Hamblin [00:01:54]: And I have a background as a teacher, so you would think I would've noticed. So at least I thought I would've noticed sooner that they have autism and ADHD. But I didn't know for years. All I knew was my teaching degrees did not prepare me for motherhood the way that I thought that they would. I was so sure it would be a cakewalk. It was really difficult, especially the meltdowns, the intense emotions, the screaming, the fighting, the hitting. I really thought I was just failing as a mom for years Mhmm. Until I realized my children just needed to be parented differently than the way that I was parenting them, and that they needed it to start with me, my own mindsets, my own thoughts, a lot of what you've taught on this podcast with recognizing It's not that they want to do it, but that they can't.

Emily Hamblin [00:02:39]: And then figuring out, okay, why can't they, and how can I help them learn those skills? Yeah. So it shifted my lens. I still have that teacher lens. But now instead of teaching my kids to be compliant and behave, I'm teaching them the skills that they need to handle those really tricky situations like a change in events or when they lose that board game. What are we going to do instead of flipping the board game in the air, slamming the table on the ground and running to our rooms. How are we gonna handle that instead? Right?

Penny Williams [00:03:07]: Yeah. Yeah. Sounds familiar.

Emily Hamblin [00:03:09]: Yeah. I'm sure. So that's a little bit about me. And part of that has been recognizing that my children might be communicating to me in a different way than expected, including their love languages, which we'll jump into. But shifting that lens, whether or not a child has a diagnosis that they just might be communicating differently because they're seeing and experiencing the world differently has been really life changing for our family.

Penny Williams [00:03:36]: Yeah. Absolutely. And understanding that, you know, they might be communicating something that feels entirely different to you on the surface. But, you know, I always talk a lot about noticing the intention behind behavior, because I think that's how we determine what they're trying to communicate. Right? And sometimes it's vastly different than what it feels like to us, when we're receiving it on that receiving end.

Emily Hamblin [00:04:01]: Absolutely. I had one of our members last week. She had a child, and she said, every time I ask the child to do something like put the lid on the milk, I'm meant with so much resistance and so many intense emotions. And her question initially was, how can I help my kid be corrected without having intense emotions? Mhmm. And she was coming from a great place. She's a wonderful mom who's worked a lot on her parenting. And then I said, well, why do you think your kid has those intense emotions in the first place. Then she thought about it, and she realized, oh, well, in her words, the kid's a picky eater, so she's not getting a lot of nutrition.

Emily Hamblin [00:04:39]: And the kid is having a hard time in school, and the child has siblings that don't have the same difficulties. And she's probably comparing herself to them, thinking they have it so easy. And she just laid everything out. And then I said, okay. Now can you write a story from your child's perspective? Or the child's the hero and they're trying their best, write a story. And it was beautiful. It brought me to tears. And and the story was, I'm so hungry, but everything looks so gross.

Emily Hamblin [00:05:06]: And so I just feel hungry all day long. And and I wanna eat the food, but I just can't get myself to eat it. And and then I hope my mom doesn't get mad. I'm just gonna eat cereal again because that's all I can stand to eat. And I know if I were my brother, I would like the food that she makes, but I'm not my brother, and I wish I were. And then she comes in and asks me to put the milk on dump it on the milk, and I just can't handle it anymore.

Penny Williams [00:05:29]: Oh my gosh. I love that prompt, though. That so helps us get to Our kids' perspective. Like, if we mindfully do that.

Emily Hamblin [00:05:40]: Yes. Once she came to that perspective, I didn't even need to give her the tools. She already said, oh, I see what my child needs.

Penny Williams [00:05:48]: Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That's really powerful. Let's talk about love languages and what they are. I wanna start with, what is a love language? There's a well known book out there about love languages, and I think a lot of us think about it in terms of relationships, romantic relationships. But it really, I think, applies to every human. Right?

Emily Hamblin [00:06:14]: Absolutely. Well, love languages is a Gray is coined by Gary Chapman in his book, Five Love Languages. He's also written a book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, and that's where the idea comes from. And according to him, there's 5 different love languages. We have quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, and acts of service. Now I'll be honest. I haven't read his book for a little while, so sometimes I'm not sure what were his ideas and how I've just Made them work for for my own for my own family and the the families that I work with. But I really do believe that sometimes we will have a way of communicating love that might be in certain languages.

Emily Hamblin [00:06:57]: For example, my husband communicates love with gifts. He loves to give people gifts, but it doesn't matter to him whether he receives a gift or not. And the same, I have a child that loves to get hugs, does not love to give hugs, but he shows love through a different love language. So sometimes, you You know, we might have a little bit of a shift in how they're giving versus receiving. And especially with our neurodivergent children, again, whether or not they have diagnosis, any child that isn't really fitting into a box, we might say, or expected development. Yeah. They will often communicate differently. I mean, we could go through each love language if that's okay with you and just chat about what that might look like.

Penny Williams [00:07:45]: Yes. That's Exactly what I would love to do. Yeah. Which 1 do you wanna start with?

Emily Hamblin [00:07:49]: Physical touch is huge for my boys, because my 3 oldest are boys, and they're all neurodivergent. And so, Like I said, one loves to get hugs. He loves when I give him a hug or his sister gives him a hug, his little 2 year old sister. He doesn't give them. I don't think he's ever come up to me in his life and given me a hug. And that would be really easy for me, since physical touch is one of my top love languages, to feel unloved by my child. Oh, my child doesn't love me.

Penny Williams [00:08:16]: Right.

Emily Hamblin [00:08:17]: He just wants me to give him hugs. He never wants to give me a hug. But I have noticed that this child will initiate wrestling, that he will try to tickle people. He'll poke people. He'll come up to me and, like, head butt me in my back whenever he wants my attention. And it's easy to say, oh, he's just looking for attention or he's just trying to be annoying. But I could also shift that lens and say, what if he's communicating love through physical touch right now?

Penny Williams [00:08:45]: Yeah. We don't go there. We don't go there when our kin is punching on us and head butting us.

Emily Hamblin [00:08:52]: Oh, you're not hurting.

Penny Williams [00:08:53]: Okay. But even so, I think, you know, we equate things like that with Being more aggressive naturally and that protective instinct that we have. Yeah. So, yeah, just trying to think about it in that way takes mindfulness.

Emily Hamblin [00:09:09]: I've noticed he'll go up to a sibling and just lightly tickle the back of their elbow, which is It definitely it annoys the siblings, so it's hard to you know, it's still hard for us to handle as a family.

Penny Williams [00:09:21]: But Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:09:22]: I really do believe he does it in a way to try to connect with that sibling Mhmm. In the way that he's currently able to.

Penny Williams [00:09:29]: Yeah. For me, I'm trying to reconcile that he loves to Get hugs, but not give hugs. Because a lot of our kids who don't like hugs don't like touch. Right? It's a sensory thing.

Emily Hamblin [00:09:41]: Mhmm.

Penny Williams [00:09:41]: And so thinking about the fact that it could be different things between giving and receiving is kind of blowing my mind a little right now. It's amazing.

Emily Hamblin [00:09:53]: And, of course, we could go into sensory where one of my children with autism has a very small proprioceptive cup. So when I do give him hugs, he wants a very light hug, and he does not want me to hold him close. The other one has a huge proprioceptive tub, Very much a sensory seeker. Mhmm. So he wants me to, like, bear hug him, squeeze him tight, and rock him while I hug him. Yeah. And so Recognizing their sensory preferences combined with their love languages, that's really been a game changer for our family.

Penny Williams [00:10:22]: Yeah. Proprioceptive is that deep pressure input for anybody listening who doesn't know. I have the kid who loves bear hugs. We used to use bear hugs when he was younger to help him regulate and come out of meltdowns when he wanted it. He didn't always want that. Right? But when he was open to it, it was so wildly helpful. Yeah. And just getting that deep pressure.

Penny Williams [00:10:44]: But then as you said, there are people who I have a very small tolerance for that. So, yeah, knowing your kid's profile, what helps them, what Is off putting, for lack of a better word, coming to my mind to them, what they can't handle, really informs how we interact and communicate back with our kids. Right? Because communication goes both ways as we're talking about.

Emily Hamblin [00:11:09]: Absolutely. And whenever I recognize how much my children you know, we talk about the senses and how there's different preferences for each sense. As I learn their different preferences for each love language, it helps me to communicate. K. This kid doesn't really want a lot of physical touch. Maybe it's sensory. Maybe it's their love language preference. Whatever.

Emily Hamblin [00:11:29]: Mhmm. Versus this child doesn't wanna be touched a lot, but they do like to be physically close. And so I might try to incorporate just a gentle hand on their shoulder when I'm you to them Right. Or a little scratch on the head when they come home from school, and I talk to just incorporate touch a little bit more into my parenting on their level of comfort with that.

Penny Williams [00:11:49]: Yeah. Let's move on to the 2nd love language and how that would apply to our kids.

Emily Hamblin [00:11:55]: Yeah. Words of affirmation. This is basically any positive words. Right? It might be praise. It might be encouragement. It might be telling them that you love them. Now in his book, Gary Chapman says, you don't wanna use this too much because it might become overused, and they might not feel that it's special anymore. That's what he says, and I actually disagree.

Emily Hamblin [00:12:19]: With the kids I've worked with, it seems like they can't get enough of me incorporating words of affirmation. And I find with my kids, sometimes they are going to communicate this to me differently. They might say, Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. And that might actually be them communicating love. They're trying to connect using words.

Emily Hamblin [00:12:40]: Yeah. And that's their way of showing me love. My instinct is to be very annoyed and to be upset with them.

Penny Williams [00:12:47]: Right. Right.

Emily Hamblin [00:12:48]: And I can override that and go, wow. My child is showing me love right now. Mhmm. And the same Yeah. Towards siblings. They do it to each other, to recognize Anytime they're using a words, any words to try to connect, that that is an attempt to show love. And then the reverse, anytime we can use words to connect with them. My 12 year old just got a little gap watch, a phone watch.

Emily Hamblin [00:13:13]: Every day, it tells me when he turns it on. They don't usually turn it on on the way to school, and I'll try to send him a quick text often and say, good morning. I love you. And I usually get this response. Okay.

Penny Williams [00:13:23]: Yeah. Okay, mom. Yeah. Right.

Emily Hamblin [00:13:28]: Or my 8 year old, I help him pack his lunch, and I'll often grab a napkin and just write with a Sharpie on it. I love you, mom. I stick it in there. Or Yeah. You're awesome, or, hey. You're great. Just like little teeny notes that take 10 seconds on my part. Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:13:46]: Anytime it can incorporate words to communicate love that are small. It really helps us strengthen that connection, which is really important, especially with neurodivergent kids. We're correcting them so much throughout the day. Mhmm. We need to deposit. And love languages has been a game changer for us to look for ways to deposit a lot.

Penny Williams [00:14:06]: Yeah. I love that. One thing that comes up for me is just noticing. You know? It doesn't have to really sound like praise. It can just be noticing when, you know, your kid hit a goal. Like, they finally put their dirty clothes in the hamper that school morning when usually you have to nag them 10 times and then it's still on the floor when they leave. Right? Like, just noticing these little things. Thank you so much for helping me bring the groceries in from the garage, or anything like that.

Penny Williams [00:14:38]: Really, I think it's received in that same way. It feels good, and we're using language to help them feel good. My kids are older now, and sometimes I'll put a Post it On their bedroom door, thanks for doing whatever. I noticed, and it really helped me out or something like that. And It's impactful. It's super impactful and so powerful.

Emily Hamblin [00:15:01]: Oh, that's great. And I love this idea of celebrating those micro wins. One of my children, they're at an age where most people would expect them to independently brush their teeth, but we're still working on helping them be independent in that. And this child can now put the toothpaste on his toothbrush without leaving a trail of toothpaste on the counter. There's still a lot of other things that there's a lot of other things we're still working on.

Penny Williams [00:15:28]: Sure.

Emily Hamblin [00:15:28]: But there's no longer a trail of toothpaste on the counter. It took about 3 weeks to get there. And it's so tempting to wait until everything is perfect.

Penny Williams [00:15:36]: Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:15:36]: On toothbrushing to celebrate. But instead, last night and this morning, I was just cheering him, look. Oh my. You just finished brushing your teeth. There's no toothpaste on the counter. You're learning to put that toothpaste on your toothbrush without leaving a trail on the counter. You are working so hard at this. I'm really proud of your hard work right now.

Penny Williams [00:15:55]: Yes. And totally growth mindset, what you said. I recognize it instantly as growth mindset. You know? Oh, we're praising the effort and not the outcome, and that's fantastic. That really, I think, helps just to have our kids open to us, but it also, I think, helps with it feeling genuine because we're not just saying, oh, you're great, or your art is so lovely. That thing you colored, it's amazing. And it might be scribble. Right? But that's kind of, I think, our instinct as parents or what we're taught.

Penny Williams [00:16:27]: I don't know. But, like, I've worked too on really celebrating the micro wins. I've sort of learned that the hard way, or it took me a really long time. I'm just really type a. Like, I wanna get things done. I wanna get things the way they need to be, And I want it to happen just right away. I'm gonna put all my effort into it, but that's all about me. Right? It's not about my kid.

Penny Williams [00:16:49]: And so we need to take those tiny steps and recognize when we've completed one of those tiny steps and we're moving to the next. And it keeps our kids engaged in that process, I think, too, because they have to also get frustrated that they can't just decide That their whole area in the morning is gonna be clean. Right? There's gonna be no toothpaste. There's it's gonna be wonderful and make it so. Right? They would love to do that too, I think. So recognizing that and being able to just really notice those teeny tiny micro wins has been really, really valuable in our household to just keep trying. Because there are things that, you know, we're working on. My kid is 21.

Penny Williams [00:17:34]: There are things we're still working on we've been working on for Years, and I've had to say, okay. You know what? If we can just make one step in the right direction, that's super incredible, and then we're gonna celebrate that a while, and then we will try to take that very next really small step. Something I actually learned in therapy for myself, because I'm so hard on myself when I can't just get there. And so I really had to learn that lesson for myself even. So let's talk about number 3.

Emily Hamblin [00:18:12]: So the 3rd love language is receiving gifts. Well, that's how Gary Chapman puts it, is receiving gifts. But I really do believe giving gifts could be a love language when receiving gifts it's not or vice versa. Yeah. And I know some parents get a little bit worried about materialism or, you know, having too many things, etcetera, whenever they indulge in this love language. But I don't think it has to just be about getting big expensive toys or pricey things. I think this is just the idea of having a physical token of something that is given from 1 person to another. My kids love whenever I find really cute rocks when we're hiking.

Emily Hamblin [00:18:57]: Like, oh, look at that beautiful rock. And one of my children loves to find he calls them crystals, just the little white quartz box when we're hiking.

Penny Williams [00:19:05]: Yep.

Emily Hamblin [00:19:06]: And he loves to give them to other people. Mhmm. And to me, that is him showing that this is one of his love languages Yeah. Is to give something physical to express love. This child doesn't necessarily care when he get something. I have another child that doesn't care much. It's going to sound selfish. I don't think it is.

Emily Hamblin [00:19:27]: He doesn't care much about giving people things, but he loves to get them. Like I said, I know that sounds selfish, but this child also has other love Like I said, I know that sounds selfish, but this child also has other love languages that I see them communicate with. They just don't naturally think of giving. And my children sometimes will give me bizarre things. Like, they want to like a dead bug, and they're so excited about this dead beetle. And, mom, look. This is for you. And I'm just like, oh my goodness.

Emily Hamblin [00:19:54]: This is disgusting. That's what I'm saying on the inside. But then I recognize Yep. This is my child trying to connect with me, trying to show me love through giving me something. This is them expressing love right now. Granted I don't have to love having a beetle in my hand. But, right, I can I can recognize that they're expressing love in that moment?

Penny Williams [00:20:14]: You can show gratitude and then immediately put it somewhere else.

Emily Hamblin [00:20:19]: Yes. And this can also be, I think, the children that want to give you artwork, or they love whenever you might give them a new pencil to use for school or just really small things, any times there's a physical token that's exchanged. And I'll also recognize this is my very lowest love language of the 5. So it's been the hardest for me to navigate because it's not instinctual for me to want to feel loved when I get something from them or to give them something to show love. So it's something I'm still navigating is Being able to navigate my own love language and recognize that it's different from theirs.

Penny Williams [00:20:57]: Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because I think it is A really important part of looking at love languages and using it to help us interact, we have to know our own too and be able to, as you said, sort of navigate what it is for other people within the framework of What it is for us also, you know, knowing that we're giving that person what they need, but it may not be what we need and that that's okay, because we'll get what we need in another way or at another time. Alright. We're on number 4.

Emily Hamblin [00:21:29]: Number 4. This is quality time. That's pretty self explanatory.

Penny Williams [00:21:36]: Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:21:37]: This is just any time that is focused between 2 people. For us, to our children, it would be, you know, parent to child. Sometimes it might be our children being able to focus with each other. No distractions and Right. Quality time. This is where with me with 4 children, and they're still quite young, and I have pretty intense needs sometimes. This is where just communicating with them to see what they would want for it to look like has helped. For example, my oldest loves to do things that are 1 on 1 with me or with my husband, but he honestly doesn't mind It's his baby sister's tagging along.

Emily Hamblin [00:22:19]: He still feels like it's quality time.

Penny Williams [00:22:21]: Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:22:22]: And so he's fine with that. If I bring him out to a restaurant and his sister comes, he still feels like this is quality time because he can talk to me about anything, and she doesn't really pick up on it. Mhmm. For him, that's fine. Whereas for my 5 year old, he would not be okay with that. He he would want his 2 year old sister to be nowhere near whenever I'm giving him quality time. And this is also something you know, with 4 children, I can't dedicate hours and hours a week to each child. Some weeks, though, I might say, okay.

Emily Hamblin [00:22:55]: I don't have hours for you. I don't maybe even have half an hour, but I have 5 minutes. Mhmm. And I always tell parents, if you don't have 5 minutes, try 3 minutes. Set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes. Although, you don't really want your phone near you for this, but, you know Right. Try to find this

Penny Williams [00:23:12]: kitchen timer.

Emily Hamblin [00:23:13]: 3 minutes where you're not thinking about anything else. You're not working on the laundry. You're not cleaning the house. You're not doing anything except sitting with your child, giving them all of your attention.

Penny Williams [00:23:24]: Yeah. In the behavior revolution program, we talk about time in, which isn't our title, but it's the same thing. Time in or special time. Sometimes it's called too, and it's really powerful. Even for teens and young adults, it's really powerful just to show them that we're interested. And And as we're talking about it, it shows how much we care.

Emily Hamblin [00:23:44]: Yes. And this one has been harder for me because my children with autism, they sometimes have very deep interest that I Mhmm. I honestly don't care about.

Penny Williams [00:23:54]: Yes.

Emily Hamblin [00:23:55]: Like, one of my children for about 6 months was extremely interested in light bulbs, the different kinds of light bulbs, LED versus halogen versus he knows all of them. And he would want to special time was always him telling me about the different light bulbs in the room, the different ones he's researched lately, what he saw at the store. And I'll admit it. It was it was a little challenging for me because I don't Right. I care about my child. Yep. But I care about my child. And so another time, he was very into license plates, so I asked him what he wanted to do for I called him big brother dates back then.

Emily Hamblin [00:24:32]: He said, I just wanna walk around the neighborhood and look at the license plates. And he would tell me about the tags and the expiration, what he noticed about the patterns. And Yeah. That was our special time.

Penny Williams [00:24:41]: I mean, you can really lean into anything. You just have to be open to it not being of interest to you and that being okay. And it can be really difficult. You know? Especially, like, My son has a virtual reality headset, and he loves it. He's been doing VR for 4 or 5 years probably now. He's always like, mom, you should see this. It's so I'm like, that is the one thing I just I get motion sick very easily, and I cannot do VR. I would physically be ill.

Penny Williams [00:25:12]: And so it's like, well, why don't you just explain to me, like, what you're seeing? And he'll talk to me all the time about different things that he does in there and how he hangs out with his friends within the Virtual reality world, what he sees and and all of that stuff. So I can't, you know, physically share that, but we can talk about it. We can find another way to connect over it that doesn't require that. So I just encourage people to get more creative If it's something like that that you just really can't do, but when it's just a topic of conversation, like, come on. You can give 5, 10, 15 minutes. It's okay. You can do it.

Emily Hamblin [00:25:52]: And focusing on this isn't about the topic. This is about me

Penny Williams [00:25:56]: Yes.

Emily Hamblin [00:25:56]: Showing my child love right now and receiving love. Because if my child's wanting my undivided attention and they're giving it to me, obviously, they're communicating love to me even if it's not the way I would have expected. I might have never expected that Mhmm. You know, a child monologuing me about Minecraft facts. That's what one of my kids is into. It's just telling me all of the data when this version of Minecraft was released and that version was released. And Yeah. I would have never, 10 years ago, thought that that was a child showing me love.

Emily Hamblin [00:26:26]: But I recognize it now. Awesome. Recognize that him telling me all the Minecraft facts is him showing me love through dedicated attention to me.

Penny Williams [00:26:34]: What's our last love language?

Emily Hamblin [00:26:36]: Our last one is my biggest one, so it's very easy for me. And this is acts of service. And this one, I know a lot of moms struggle. They say, I serve my kids all day long. You know? My whole life is one act of service. And I totally get where they're coming from for that. But acts of service is the idea of when we do something for someone or they do something for us that we feel love. And we're doing things for our kids all day long.

Emily Hamblin [00:27:05]: They might not always be aware of them, especially Right. My children with ADHD. Not that they don't care about me again. It's just they don't always notice all the things that I'm doing. So being able to, first of all, recognize when they might be serving me in more of the less traditional ways that we might expect service. Like, one of my children, he was so sweet to point it out. He came in my room. And I know that you won't show the recording, but you can tell I have a bit of clutter behind me right now.

Emily Hamblin [00:27:35]: And he knocked over a big roller foam ball I had just gotten for Christmas and I hadn't put away yet. He knocked it over on his way in. And as he walked out, he picked it up and propped it against the wall. And I honestly didn't notice. And he said to me, mom, I wanted to make sure nobody would trip on this because I loved them. And it cued me in again to all the small things that our children might be doing that we might not notice. Yeah. Because that same child struggles sometimes to clear his played after dinner.

Emily Hamblin [00:28:04]: Right? And that same child has a lot of other things that I could say that are evidence that he doesn't like to serve. I could easily say that that child doesn't like to serve based on that other evidence. But I can choose also to look for evidence that he does like to serve, and it's there, and it's really abundant. There's so much of it. I just have to look. How is my child serving me or others? And recognizing that that's their way of expressing

Penny Williams [00:28:31]: Yeah. Love. Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:28:31]: Even though they're not always doing everything, it's still there. And then to help them feel that love, I like to infuse some intentionality in. Like, just this one's hard to not feel like we're tooting our own horn. Don't wanna cross into the manipulative realm, but just letting my child know, hey. I saw you were running late for getting ready for school. So I packed your lunch for you, and I did it because I love you.

Penny Williams [00:28:54]: Right.

Emily Hamblin [00:28:54]: Not because I'm expecting their behavior to change or I want them to do anything, but just to let them know. I did this. I'm calling your attention to it because I want you to know that I love you.

Penny Williams [00:29:04]: I love that. It's so good. It's so simple. Like, this is so simple. It's not so simple to change your mindset and, you know, recognize things as your child showing love. But the things that we can do to show them love and to connect with them can be really simple And easy to weave into daily life, and I think that's just really powerful. I wanna wrap up by just giving everyone listening an action item That they can do right away. They finished listening to us talk about love languages here.

Penny Williams [00:29:40]: What can they do right away to start recognizing those different love languages and what they are for each of their kids.

Emily Hamblin [00:29:50]: I would recommend that you just start with 1 love language, whatever one resonates the most for you, acts of service, quality time, giving or receiving gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation. Whichever one resonates the most with you, start to look for evidence of your child communicating that. And it's not going to be obvious from any of our neurodivergent children.

Penny Williams [00:30:13]: Yeah.

Emily Hamblin [00:30:13]: It's not going to be immediately in our face. But we can recognize it. If we're looking for it, we'll find it. Our brains are excellent at finding what we're looking for. And so I would start there. And, also, try to just generally observe which one does your child seem to receive the best, or which one seems to light them up the most when they receive maybe the top 2 of those love languages. And then really try to find easy, natural ways to infuse that more into your day, to express it to your child. If it's physical touch, if it's quality time, how can you incorporate that even in your busy day? Just a few minutes a day, a few times a day can make a huge difference in your relationship with your child.

Penny Williams [00:30:58]: Yeah. And that relationship guides everything.

Emily Hamblin [00:31:00]: Yes.

Penny Williams [00:31:01]: It's so, so important. Thank you so much for giving us some of your time and wisdom and insights, I have had many ahas as we have been talking and having this conversation. And, Really, I feel like my awareness has been heightened, and now it can help me to really recognize When sometimes things don't feel overtly like someone is showing me love, but I can recognize that Maybe they are in those moments too, and I think it's gonna provide a nice shift in a lot of things. And I know it will for so many listening too. I wanna make sure that everyone knows how to connect more with Emily, learn more from her. You have a membership as well, I believe, If I remember correctly, so we will link all of that in the show notes, and you can find all of those links at parentingADHDandAutism.com/250 for episode 250. I can't even wrap my head around that. 250 podcast episodes as of this moment.

Penny Williams [00:32:11]: It's something to notice and celebrate. Right?

Emily Hamblin [00:32:14]: Absolutely.

Penny Williams [00:32:14]: It's my love language to parents. Yeah. So I encourage everybody to go over and connect and learn more, and I will see everyone on the next episode. Take good care.

Penny Williams [00:32:25]: Thanks for joining me on the Beautifully Complex podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and share, And don't forget to check out my online courses and parent coaching at parentingADHDandautism.com and at thebehaviorrevolution.com.

Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

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