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Tough Love - Mould Children into Responsible Adults

Updated on August 22, 2017
Joyette  Fabien profile image

Joyette is mother of two grown up daughters. Motherhood continues to be a rich, rewarding experience which she is happy to share with others

Be tough on them now so you can have them tomorrow

Tough Love vs Indulgence?

Should we, as parents, love our children to the extent that we allow them to go the wrong way because we do not wish to displease them? Should we spare the rod and spoil the child?

Discipline is an essential element in raising children successfully. However, discipline can only be effective if it is administered correctly. How then can the level of correctness be determined? There is, in fact, no absolute way. Parents must strive to be consistent, firm and fair while at the same time demonstrating understanding, wisdom and love.

When a child needs to be disciplined there are a number of variables to be considered such as the severity of the misdemeanor which has been committed, the circumstances surrounding it and the habitual behavior of the child. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that they are rational and controlled when administering discipline to avoid turning discipline into abuse. Furthermore, discipline dispensed in anger seldom has the intended effect.

As a parent, you find it easy to love your children unconditionally. You will do almost anything to ensure their happiness and well being. When they are ill you are broken down and when they hurt you hurt. How then do you punish them and cause them to hurt? How do you deny them the privileges which you know will make them happy? One of the toughest decisions that a parent must make is to deny his/her child something that the child truly desires or to administer discipline in a manner that really hurts.

Tough love involves looking beyond the moment. You have established standards for your home and family. There are values which you uphold and which you have tried to instill in your children from very young. These, you are certain, will set them on the right track in life.

However, there is a lot of peer pressure out there and children from homes where standards are strictly enforced have the tendency to believe that their parents are being unnecessarily strict and unloving. They compare their own parents to that of their friends who might be more accommodating and whose rules might be more lax.

When this happens you feel backed into a corner because you do not wish to alienate your children. You want nothing more than to have them trust you enough to understand that your decisions are for their own protection. On the other hand, your conscience will not allow you to accede to their wishes if you are convinced that morally you are making the right decision. You will be unable to live with your conscience if you do not exercise what you perceive to be good judgment. What if by relenting to your children's wishes you place them at risk? Would you forgive yourself? Would your children love you more?

You cannot , as a parent, allow your children to travel the wrong routes; to succumb to peer pressure and to make poor choices, simply because it makes them happy for the moment. At the end of the day, if things do not turn out right for them, they will turn around and blame you for contributing to their failure by not providing the proper guidance when they were growing up. Conversely, they will thank you for the tough upbringing which helped them to become strong, responsible adults.

It brings immense gratification, when after your children are grown and on their own , you can look back with satisfaction in the knowledge that you did your best as a parent and that you contributed to the sound, upright adults that your children have grown up to be.

Tough love may hurt at the time it is being exercised, but it pays off in the long run and your children will, in retrospect, thank you for the times when you were tough on them. As the saying goes, ‘All’s well that ends well.’


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    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 3 years ago from Dominica

      Thank you for your comment, RTalloni. We as adults certainly have to do our best to keep the young ones on the right track

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Interesting to come across this at this time. If children do not learn to submit to authority they are headed for serious trouble. Currently, it seems that a generation of such children are facing a world that is not going to let them continue in their rebellion. If authorities do not hold the standard high, communities will crumble in disorder. Parents do their children a great disservice when they allow them to think that they are going to be able to get by with rebellion.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 5 years ago from Dominica

      I agree; we have to be fair to our children. If not, they may grow into broken adults whom no one will be able to mend. They in turn will probably repeat the cycle and create another broken generation.

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      Gloria McLawrence 5 years ago from St. Maarten

      Tough love is great if it is fair. I must reiterate on the fairness of this method. Some parents may ignorantly see their over proetctiveness, overshadowing and distrust as tough love. Just because a son or daughter is successful later in life does not mean they can look back to all this distrust as tough love. I think tough love is key to growing sound individuals however there is a thin line which one must be careful not to overlook.

      This share is a great follow up read to your previous one about the dangers of over protecting parenting.

      Thanks again for your sound words.

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 6 years ago from Dominica

      Thanks for your encouragement, Sam9999. I agree; they recognize fairness and will appreciate it in the long run.

    • Sam9999 profile image

      Sam9999 6 years ago

      As someone who has cared for more than 200 foster children over a 20 year time frame - I can attest that tough love is the only way to go. If you are fair about it then they will appreciate it eventually. Great hub.