Secrets Of Effective Communication (II).
By Debra Cohen, LCSW.
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I worked with Joe and Marcia last month in marital therapy around an interesting issue: There were a number of disagreements about disciplining their son, Jason. Jason had lied and was grounded for a week as his punishment, which both parents initially agreed upon.
After two days, Marcia felt a lot of pain watching Jason sit in his room while his friends were playing basketball a few doors down. She let him slip out for an hour before his father returned home. For feminine consciousness, there is a strong sense of empathy and an ability to identify with another person's suffering. Joe found out about Jason going outside and felt angry and betrayed. He felt that Jason would never learn the consequences of his actions and becomes responsible if he was 'babied.' Joe also felt upset because he was the 'heavy' and 'bad guy' now.
This scenario is common and maybe why, traditionally, mothers have been associated with 'unconditional love' and fathers with 'conditional love.' Unconditional love means that I love you WHATEVER you do because of who you are Conditional love means I love you for your goals, accomplishments, victories, principles, character, and effort.
Sometimes teenagers will say that they respect their father's love for being judgmental. Yet, they may prefer receiving the nurturing and unconditional love from their mother. In Joe and Marcia's case, they were able to see that each had to change a bit.
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