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Tough Love - Mould Children into Responsible Adults
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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