In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey compares this type of relational strategy to an emotional bank account. Basically it says that you have to fill up the emotional bank account before you can write a check.
When that theory is applied to parenting, it boils down to this: you’ve got to make emotional deposits before you can make withdrawals.
When you confront or discipline your child (make a withdrawal) without first loving on him (making a deposit), you will chip away at your parent/child relationship (bounce the check!)
As a parent, think for a minute what your child may be feeling when you discipline (make a withdrawal) without showing love (making deposits). When you were confronted by someone who you felt didn’t really care about you, how did you respond? If you’re like me, you’d probably say, “Who are you to tell me what to do?”
Checkbook Parenting Only Has One Rule
And that rule is this: fill the bank account before you write the check.
Before you sit down and confront your child about something he is doing wrong, ask yourself one question, “Have I made an adequate amount of deposits?” or “Have I communicated my love to him in a way he truly feels and understands?”
This is not an excuse to go easy on your child because you feel guilty for not spending enough time with him. It is an important reminder that we must be intentional about loving our children.
Checkbook parenting can have a profound effect on your parenting and your home.
- It cuts down on negativity in your home.
- It fosters a strong love bond between you and your children.
- It actually helps you enjoy your kids more by forcing you to look at them positively, instead of always seeing what they are doing wrong.
I’m not talking about false praise, shallow flattery or gifts given out of guilt, I’m talking about taking the time–not just words–to love your child.
Sure, it takes work. It takes extra effort to focus on loving your child in a way that he really feels loved. But it is an investment that will return endless dividends.
I have a theory about this checkbook parenting philosophy. If you are intentional about filling your child’s emotional bank account every day, the withdrawals you have to make will lessen as they grow older. Which means that your child could grow up to be one very rich kid.