If you are a parent of even just one child you understand that parenting is the toughest job anyone could have. Of course there are also many joys that accompany bringing little ones into the world, with all the cute little things they say and do. As children grow in age and size the tough responsibilities of parenting become more clear. Parents expecting their first child oftentimes load up on parenting books in order to learn tips and tricks to become the “perfect parent”, only to find that each book offers very different strategies and tactics towards “perfect parenting”.
One author might recommend discipline in the form of spanking, whereas another author would vehemently oppose spanking but recommend putting your child in “time out”. Reality television shows and talk shows attempt to teach parents how to regain structure and control of households with children running amuck. To put it mildly, parenting is tough. Tough Love advocates discuss parenting children and teens who’ve become involved with drugs and alcohol, but today‘s society of children and young adults, believing the world “owes” them everything, gives new reason for broader understanding towards parenting with tough love.
What Tough Love Is-
Raising children with Tough Love is just that: tough. We love our children with every inch of our soul, doing our utmost to provide for their need of food, clothing, shelter, personal attention, guidance, direction, appropriate discipline when needed, a good education, recreation and more. Tough love is required in order to properly handle the inevitable disagreements, conflicts, arguments, and even physical battles that sometimes occur in families today.
Parents that have the tendency to quickly give in to their children’s every want and whim, or give in after their child has a conniption fit in the toy or grocery store, are systematically setting themselves up for failure. It is your responsibility as parent to raise your children to be respectful and self-reliant. Parents must “let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no”.
Each and every time a parent portrays weakness towards children’s demands, ultimately giving in after a battle of wills, all the hard work of initially standing your ground has been for nothing. Rather than the parents raising the children, it quickly becomes the children ruling the household, or as Dr. Phil would say, “the tail wagging the dog”.
Tough Love In Action-
I’m often amazed at the number of parents who routinely give the warning “I’m going to count to three…” How many times have children actually done what was asked of them after the parent said “One“? None that I’ve seen. More often than not children will wait until after the parent has counted past “two” before reluctantly beginning to take action. Raising children with Tough Love requires that the parent be in control of the situation. When a child is asked to do something, perhaps pick up toys or clean their room, children should know without a shred of doubt in their mind that you mean Now.
Tough Love Is Not Bullying-
Tough love does not mean behaving as a tyrant or dictator. Screaming at your children, threatening bodily harm if your wishes are not adhered to, is not parenting with love. It only makes you a bully. You want your children to respectfully and obediently comply with your wishes, not cower in fear of what they think a parent might do to them. Children learn what they live, and they will grow up to pass the same onto their own children.
Tough Love Does Not Allow Enabling-
Many of today’s parents are preoccupied with trying to be friends with their children rather than parenting their children. Maintaining a close bond with your children, including a great deal of deep and meaningful communication, does not minimize the enormous responsibility of raising your children to become independent, self-sufficient adult members of society. There are vast differences in the advice and opinions many children and teens share with each other, versus what a responsible adult parent would advise. Can parents really afford to confuse their roles, allowing themselves to be placed in the position of becoming their children’s peer, rather than that of being the responsible parent?
Parents have only one shot in this life to raise their children to become upstanding, respectable adults, where they will then pass it onto the next generation and the next. While parents may wish there were some magical, trick-filled manual on how to raise children, it really boils down to doing the very best job of parenting possible. And praying a lot.
Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children As long as we continue to keep enabling our adult children, they will continue to deny they have any problems, since most of their problems are being “solved” by those around him. Only when our adult children are forced to face the consequences of their own actions—their own choices—will it finally begin to sink in how deep their patterns of dependence and avoidance have become. And only then will we as parents be able to take the next step to real healing, forever ending our enabling habits and behaviors.
The Toughlove Prescription “Inspired by the revolutionary bestseller Toughlove,” a guide to help parents discipline their children with love and consistency. “Toughlove” was an international bestseller and one of the first guidebooks for parents of extremely troubled teens. “The Toughlove Prescription picks up where the million-plus mega-seller left off, helping you discipline your children, who live in a world saturated by cell phones, the Internet, and graphic displays of nudity and violence. Dr. Ron Zodkevitch helps you apply the Toughlove techniques to more-common problems such as a messy room, smoking, and homework. He also incorporates a new, four-step program for you to reach out to your teens.