Tough Love

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Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly With the intent to help them in the long run. The phrase was evidently coined by Bill Milliken when he wrote the book Tough Love in 1968 and has been used by numerous authors since then. Tough love was originally intended for adult drug addicts, not for young children still learning about life. Tough love as used by the parents in public places only teaches a child the harmful and illogical lesson that purposely hurting another human being is supposedly "an act of love". Children are not dumb know that this definition of love makes no sense. But when this lesson is repeated over and over again, they begin to believe it. A humiliated child grows up emotionally crippled, confusing cruelty with love, and sadism with intimacy. Parents who use tough love should be reminded that "the proof is in the pudding". As a child, Adolf Hitler was often humiliated and harshly disciplined, while the young Albert Einstein was consistently treated with gentleness, kindness, and patience. Einstein's mother was often accused of "spoiling" him. Fortunately, however, she ignored those warnings. These are extreme examples, but there is no doubt in my mind that there is a close, direct relationship between the degree of punishment in childhood and later difficulties in adulthood, just as there is between loving parenting and later health and happiness. Punishment, threats, and humiliation never achieve long-term goals because they provoke anger, create resentment, and diminish the bond between parent and child. Punishment interferes with the child’s opportunity to learn from direct experience, which ideally should be unencumbered by fear and pain. As the educator John Holt warned, “When we make a child afraid, we stop learning dead in its tracks.”( helpyourteens.com, 2001)

As a troubled teen myself I can say for sure that teenagers not only desire tough love but they need it....
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