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In this article, we are going to discuss the principles and strategies of “Tough Love” for parents to deal with their problem teens. Most people think that tough love means “kicking them out” and spoiling the relationships with the teens. It’s not true at all. muhibzahraTough love program is designed to help parents deal effectively with their difficult teenagers. Tough love is a loving resolution and a tool set for parents that are tormented by unacceptable behaviors, including drugs use and substance problems, verbal and/or physical abuse. It helps parents to discipline their teenagers with love and respect.  When parents are in crisis and don’t know how to deal with their children, tough love provides effective and practical support. Parents serve as a role model for their children so they need to set an example children can learn from.  Tough love teaches parents to deal their teens on the basis of merit.

Tough love includes following principles and strategies:

  • First of all, parents should set boundaries and rules firmly and stating them clearly. Before implementing tough love principles, you may have been lenient and inconsistent in setting boundaries and sticking to them. If your teen is in danger of damaging or destroying his life, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to be firm.
  • Stop enabling your teens. Teach your teens how to take responsibility and face the consequences of their behaviors and actions.  Let him endure the consequences so that they can learn from them.
  • Take A Stand With Your Children. When parents take a stand, they need to stick to it to modify the undesirable and unacceptable behaviors of teens. Make it clear that you can't put aside matters when children engage into self destructive behaviors. 
  • Be respectful to your teen but let him know that you expect and deserve respect in return. Tough love doesn't mean lacking in love and respect. It is important to show respect to your loved one throughout the tough love process.
  • Recognize enviable and desirable behaviors with positive attention such as praise, physical touch and rewards.
  • When parents are in crisis, one of the best things they can do for themselves and their teens is to join a support group. They can learn from the experiences of parents who have been there.  There are opportunities for emotional and social support for you and your teens.
  • Many parents of troubled teens experience emotional health problems and challenges as a direct result of their living and interaction with problematic teen. Hence in training, they need to learn the skills to manage their emotions effectively and manage them separately from their goals. 

Sometimes “tough love” is harder on the parents than on the child. But it is one of the best things parents can do for their children.