My husband uses an illustration in teaching on childrearing that can help parents keep a perspective on what it is they are doing day in and day out. And here it is. When you love your child by giving them attention and love in many and varied forms, it is like putting money in their bank accounts. Whether it is singing to and with them, playing those silly games, making eye contact when they talk to you, caring for them, feeding them, and bestowing good things on them, all these things are deposits. As they get older, it may mean listening, shopping, helping, driving, being at their games, helping drill them for tests, or hosting the parties at your house. By being cranky, short-tempered, distant, stingy, critical, or overly-protective of them, you are keeping the account in the negative numbers.
Some children grow up with pretty fat accounts which means they feel secure and loved and happy. Other kids are just squeaking by, barely making it. So fast-forward to when a daughter is age sixteen. Let’s say that some guy is showing her attention and wants to take her on a date. Dad, who has been loving her and bestowing on her for sixteen years, tells her something like, “No way, Jose.” This is Dad writing a check, and because he has put a lot in the account, the check doesn’t bounce. Daughter happily complies. But if the account is pretty low, when Dad writes a check, it doesn’t clear. He says, “No,” but his daughter flips out about it, doesn’t understand, or just won’t go along at all. It’s pretty tough to cover the check even if he really needs to write it because the young man who wants to take her out is a bum. And though it’s still possible to start making some deposits, it’s mighty late now when you need to start writing some checks.
Think about your kids and start loving them up.