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10 'tough love' parenting ideas

13 November
Posted by:
Michael Grose

There’s no doubt ‘Tough Love Parenting’ is the way to go if you want your kids to be successful. My recent Blog post (added 10th November) gives plenty of good reasons to support this.

Here are ten ways to put tough love parenting into practice:

1. Set limits and boundaries that expand as kids get older and become more capable. Boundaries make kids feel secure and teach them how to behave well. Boundaries are a little like fences. To be effective they need to be high to make it hard for kids to climb over them. They need to be colorful so kids see them. They need to firm so kids can bounce off them. They need to have a little electric current running through them so kids get a little sting when they brush againts them. That sting can be a verbal reminder or a consequence.

2. Use a negotiable style with children according to their age and stage of development. Parents also need to realise that not everything is up for negotiation. There are times when the word ‘no’ needs to be heard as parents act in the best interest of their kids.

3. Use consequences and other tools to teach kids to behave well and develop a sense of personal responsibility. Resist the temptation to let kids off the hook when they do the wrong thing. Firm but fair is the key here.

4. Use family rituals such as shared mealtimes to make sure you interact regularly with your kids. Tough love parents have processes in place that enable them to interact with their kids of all ages.

5. Encourage kids for improvement, effort and contribution rather than their ability at school, in sport and other areas of their lives. Focus your positive comments on their participation rather than results of what they do so kids learn that trying and persistence are important.

6. Recognise cooperative behaviours with positive attention such as praise, physical touch and rewards and minimise negative behaviours through a range of measures such as ignoring and using consequences. Realise that what you focus on expands so if you focus on kids' cooperative anf friendly behaviours then kids are more likley to develop those.

7. Teach kids the skills needed for independence from an early so they learn to look after themselves. Avoid regularly doing things for kids that they can do for themselves. Tough love parents spend a great deal of time in teaching mode.

8. Adopt an open communication style in your family where kids learn that there’s nothing so bad that they can’t talk about it. You set the scene as parents with a friendly communication style that encourages talking rather than closes it down.

9. Encourage a sense of empathy in children by recognising their emotions and giving them permission and assistance to talk about their feelings. Kids who develop this sense of other have a massive headstart in social settings over their more self-centred counterparts.

10. Encourage generosity and kindness in your kids. They show generosity by sharing toys and other items, helping others and doing chores that benefit their family. This sense of community that tough love parenting promotes is the real strength of the style.

You can learn more about the principles and strategies of authoritative parenting with the 'tough love' parenting kit of learning resources I've put together. Find out more here.

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