"UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD"
How Well Does Your Child Get This Message?
by Mikal Frazier, LMFT, LPC
A Side Note: No, I am not a fan of Carl Rogers, but he did have three very good ideas that I learned in my graduate studies. These are genuineness, empathy and unconditional positive regard. I am aware he stood for many ideals that are opposed to our Judeo-Christian values and absolutes, but he must be given credit for these essentials that he identified for developing a therapeutic relationship.
NOW TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
I was visiting with the father of a thirteen-year-old. The father was a large imposing man just in his physical stature. I have no doubt that this father cared for his son. He wanted the best for him. Yet, the father frequently became angry and demeaning, sometimes resorting to sarcasm and "in your face" transactions with the boy. It seemed to me that the child would absolutely wither inside when his father rebuked him. This child craved a positive relationship, but he received very few messages of caring acceptance. My heart hurt for him in most of our sessions. I knew that with this father I would have to walk a tightrope in getting him to express more empathy for his child, to foster a WARM relationship between father and son. The warmth was not there because of the father's poor relationship skills.
It has occurred to me that "unconditional positive regard" would address the issues of this case that concern me. I love to talk to my clients about "agape." "Agape" does not let you get by with much, but "unconditional positive regard" puts a picture on the Biblical term, "Agape."
From here on out I am going to talk to this parent and all others, when parenting is the issue, about "unconditional positive regard." That is the message we must give to our children in all circumstances. It is not unconditional positive regard of the child's behavior, but unconditional positive enforcement of the child as a person. It is unconditional positive regard of his value and worth to the parent.
Parents must be willing to train, teach and correct their children under the umbrella of unconditional positive regard. If I can convince a parent of the need of always giving unconditional positive enforcement, then when there are interactions and transactions between parent and child, I can then let the parent become the judge of whether he or she is giving unconditional positive regard. Sarcasm is not congruent with unconditional positive regard. "In your face" rage is not possible under the umbrella of unconditional positive regard.
It is very possible and even necessary, to correct your child, to put in consequences and even to give appropriate spankings and at the same time give the message of "unconditional positive regard."
When appropriate discipline is being applied and is still not working, then it is the relationship that is having difficulty. It is the relationship that needs work. Godly "unconditional positive regard" will go a long way toward building a positive relationship. All the training and discipline in the world will be diminished greatly in its effectiveness if "unconditional positive regard" is not present.
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"Life's Too Short To Ration Your Candy"
by Elmer F. Little, Jr
Elmer Little was a great friend of ours who went to be with the Lord several months ago. He often wrote, short pithy articles on a variety of subjects. You can read our favorite Elmer Little piece
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If you have questions about marriage and family relationships, you can "ASK THE COUNSELOR." Address your questions to Mikal Frazier. Her address is
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