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Emotional Bank Account

April 13, 2023
By Becky Ross

I can still remember being 11 years old and waiting in line at a new bank with my dad with my piggy bank of life savings in my arms to put into my own savings account. I thought I could buy anything and everything now because I had a bank account. I soon learned the harsh reality that you can only withdraw money that you have put in and that was definitely not enough for all that my heart desired. The sad notice that said there were not enough funds to cover my “fun” was a rough one to get. I eventually learned that overdrafts were NOT good and I learned to make more deposits and less withdrawals so there was a positive balance in my account and my life!

Each member of our family also has an emotional bank account of trust instead of money.       Dr. Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families®, defines an emotional bank account as one’s relationship with another. He explains the concept of an emotional bank account with a metaphor: “By proactively doing things that build trust in a relationship, one makes ‘deposits.’  Conversely, by reactively doing things that decrease trust, one makes ‘withdrawals.’  The current ‘balance’ in the emotional bank account will determine how well two people can communicate and problem-solve together.” If you are struggling to communicate with your child you may need to ask yourself, “Do I need to make more deposits?”

Some common WITHDRAWALS that parents make with their children are:
Being distracted (like checking your phone) when your child is speaking to you 
Yelling or screaming at your child
Criticizing them repeatedly
Being overly sarcastic
Talking about your child or your spouse negatively to others
Lack of follow through with your word

Here are some ideas for DEPOSITS into your child's emotional bank account:
Apologize when you make a mistake!
Be affectionate. Research says we need 12 hugs a day! (emotional & physical).
Spend time with them- read a book, play a game or cook a meal together.
Greet them warmly as they hop in the car or arrive home from school.
Attend their activities and be attentive to activities in their life.
Be kind and patient (hard one sometimes, I know).
When children make a mistake, be compassionate and help them to solve their own problems.
Laugh with them-So important! 
Spend one-on-one quality time with them.
Keep your promises. Cannot overstate this one enough!
Pray aloud over them!

Where does your investment stand? Have you made enough deposits in your family so that there are enough “funds” to cover the daily withdrawals? It is not good to live life always being in the red. The good news is that we all have the ability to fill our family’s emotional bank account regardless of what our paycheck says. Little kindnesses go a long way toward building relationships of trust. Let’s be proactive and choose to build families who have a plentiful emotional bank account which allows them to be generous and have emotional currency to give to their family and extend to others around them in need.

Becky Ross
Primary Education Principal
Logos Preparatory Academy