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Making deposits into your child’s emotional tank

September 14th, 2008 / 5 Comments

I believe it was Gary Smalley who taught that everyone has an emotional tank. We function at our best when our emotional tank is full.

Here’s how it works.

When an emotional need is met, our tank gets a “deposit.” It fills up a bit.

A hug, an affirming word, a listening ear, laughter, good times together – these are deposits that a parent can make into our child’s emotional tank.

The fuller the tank, the more positve our feelings and better our behavior.

We can relate to that in our own lives, can’t we? When we get an affirmation on that presentation from my boss, or a compliment about our hair from our husband, the sun is brighter and we are full of energy.

But situations will arise where withdrawals has to be made from the emotional tank.

When we discipline our children, when we get impatient and yell at them, when we deny them of something they want – the emotional tank of our children goes down a few notches.

Are we making enough deposits into our children’s emotional tank to balance the withdrawals? Are our children’s misbehaviors a sign of a depleting emotional tank?

What can we do to make more deposits into our children’s emotional tank?

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  1. I believe it was Ross Campbell who first started teaching with that concept. Good ideas.

  2. Thanks for that info, Chris. I’m going to check out Campbell’s books.

  3. […] I think that more than any material possession we can give our children, the one thing they really need is our love and acceptance. […]

  4. […] Simply a time to interact with some fun and conversation is a great way for make deposits into each other’s emotional tank.  […]

  5. […] a deep breath when she shows disrespect. Take the high road, be the loving parent, and give her a hug – “You must’ve had a rough day at school. Do you want a […]


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