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If you’ve ever heard someone talking about giving tough love to their kids, it usually means that their children are doing something bad and that the parent needs to be firm and unyielding to help them overcome it. In child psychology terms, it’s meant to provide that extra push they need to really hit home how important the matter is.

The problem is that you can go too far with it when it drifts further and further away from positive parenting; the effects can be far-reaching and very damaging. By reading on, we’ll look at 5 different reasons why tough love should be practiced with caution. 

#1 - It Can Be Demeaning

As any good parenting course will tell you, when kids reach a certain age, you need to give them respect as young people to help boost their self-esteem. However, when you’re too heavy-handed in the name of provoking a positive response, it can be very demeaning and more than a little humiliating, especially if it’s done in front of friends, family or even worse, out in public.

#2 - It Shows the Parent to Be Unkind and Impatient

When tough love is being dished out, it can take the form of freedom restrictions or what can constitute verbal child abuse. This can be hugely damaging to their state of mind, particularly as the best relationships are based on kindness, patience and empathy. If you’re using tough love too severely or too often, you’ll just come across as impatient and uncaring. 

#3 - It Can Make Your Child Feel Guilty

When raising children, it’s really easy to go too far in using strictness to teach children the right behaviours. If you’re continually banging on about what they’re doing wrong, they can start to think that they’re inferior or simply ‘not good enough’ and start to feel guilty that they can’t do what their Mum or Dad is asking them to do. It can really hold back child development. 

#4 - It Can Make Your Love Seem Conditional

Unconditional love is part of any healthy parent-child relationship, so your parenting plan needs to reflect this. When you’re using tough love, and they’re only getting good vibes from you when they toe the line, it can make them feel like you only love them when they’re doing what you ask, and that’s not a great basis for creating a parental bond.

#5 - It Often Shows That You Just Don’t Understand

Ever heard your child say, “you don’t understand!”? That’s because empathy is important, and when it’s not evident, it can drive a wedge between the both of you. Tough love can make you seem uncaring and more interested in your own needs, so you use it at your peril. 

Improve Your Parenting Skills With a Course From OCA

Tough love can work, but it absolutely should not form the basis of your overall parental guidance for all the reasons listed. The good news is that if you’re struggling for inspiration with how to effectively parent your children, at Online Courses Australia, we offer a wide range of parenting courses to help you. 

If you’d like to know more about how to access it and how it’s possible to pay for your industry-approved training in manageable instalments, you should visit us online at There you’ll also find details about how our short courses count towards CPD points that help employers see that you’re a serious professional who’s committed to development.

Alternatively, if you would like to talk to us about your training needs, just give us a call on 1300 611 404, and we’ll be more than happy to assist.

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