What Does It Mean to Have Positive Regard Toward My Child?

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A disrespectful or unloving reaction is never a remedy to motivating your child long-term.

We all know that a dad ought to love his daughter unconditionally. All would define love as unconditional. Love with “conditions” is not love at all.

But what about respect toward a teenage boy? Should mom show unconditional respect?

Many in the culture argue that a boy (or anyone) must earn respect. He must be respectable to be respected. To put it this way, if mom respects her disobedient boy, she will be respecting bad behavior and giving him license to disobey even more. Instead, she must give no such respect!

Listen to what some academics found that counters this. Scholars on the topic of respect found,

"Relational success is often dependent on being able to communicate respect and avoiding the communication of disrespect (DeLellis, 2000). Sometimes communicating respect is simply viewed as a means to an end, but the key is for the respected to perceive an unconditional respect rather than feeling manipulated (Dillon, 2003). These unconditional respect messages may be difficult or complicated to send but when respectful communication occurs successfully it almost always leads to positive outcomes” (Simon, 2007; van Quaquebeke et al., 2009). Communicating respect…can even have a ‘social healing effect’ on…previously strained relationships (Simon, 2007)”

When secularists “get” this, all the more must a mother who loves Christ. After all, Jesus loved us while we were yet sinners (unconditional love) and intends to glorify us (unconditional respect on steroids) throughout eternity. Both His love and glory are absolute gifts. A gift is freely given. A gift like this is not deserved or earned.

More than anyone else, Christ-followers should appreciate and apply unconditional positive regard. We have an eternal and substantive reason! Every father and mother should see the image of God within a child and love and honor that image.

Unconditional positive regard does not come naturally.

Who naturally desires to be respectful while confronting a disrespectful son? What father enjoys putting on positive love and regard toward the spirit of his daughter when she disregards him? This is not about doing the easy or fair thing, but the right thing. Kids are immature and obnoxious, but this is the way forward.

Some parents prefer the easier way, especially when it accomplishes their goals. Many parents have seen firsthand the power of hostility and contempt. These “work.” When a son feels mom’s disdain, he does what she expects. She comes to adhere to the Disrespect Effect!

When a daughter feels dad’s anger and harshness, she clicks her heels and obeys his sharp command. But there is a basic law at work here, like the law of gravity: hostility and contempt eventually lose the child’s heart even though the child obeys on the heels of hostility and contempt.

Disrespect and unloving reactions are never the remedy to motivating a child long-term.

 

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