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What is Tough Love?

Image courtesy of nirots at

I found that tough love was originated (and often still is related to) parents of teens on drugs. I also read some very negative thoughts and views on tough love based on what people thought it was (or heard other's refer to it as).

Allow me to clarify tough love in the context which I was taught:

Tough Love is NOT:
Isolating, Humiliating, Hurting, Beating, Abusing, Alienating, Insulting, Embarrassing 
as a form of discipline.
(I once knew someone who changed their home answering machine to say, "Angela is grounded for X,Y, Z and will NOT be taking any calls for an entire month). 
This not okay to do...It's humiliating enough to get into trouble, it doesn't need to be announced to telemarketers, the Dr.'s office, classmates or anyone else.

Tough Love IS:
Revoking privileges
Giving a punishment which fits the crime
Disciplining with love and explanation
Sticking to our guns and following through when it comes to setting appropriate punishments and time frames (this is about consistency and avoiding our children learning loopholes).

Kids need few things to survive:
Food, Water, Love, Shelter and Acceptance.

Your child will not die if they don't:
Make it to baseball practice
Sleep over Jack's house on Saturday or
Go to Suzies Birthday Party Friday night


Don't fall for it.
Choose tough love over letting them slide...for their own good.

Read February's Family Matters Column about How I Use Tough Love at Home

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