Tough Love is probably called that because it’s tough for parents to exercise it when it comes to raising kids.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “tough love.”
It simply means that you love your child so much you discipline them when it’s needed. And part of the definition of discipline is to train (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior. Whoever coined the phrase may have called it tough love because parents need to be lovingly tough on their kids at times. But I’m thinking that it could also be called “tough love’ because sometimes it’s tough on parents to love their kids in this disciplinary way.
I’d like to apply tough love to another side of parenting, the side of you that is tempted to do too much for your child–because you love him or her of course.
Here’s the bottom line: Love means that your child knows how to do his or her own laundry.
I know that it’s often easier to do it yourself, instead of taking the time to teach your child, but a huge part of parenting is to train your kids, not just in how to love God, but in how to do their own laundry, and a whole host of other tasks.
I will be honest and admit I didn’t do a good job of teaching my girls to cook, but I did teach them how to do other household duties and most importantly, I did not do everything for them.
As we approach Valentines Day, it’s easy to shower those we love with gifts, endearing messages, and special attention. And I hope you are doing just that.
But there is another gift you need to be giving your kids. It is one of the greatest gifts of love that you can give: the gift of independence. The gift of making sure they know how to do their own laundry, plunge the toilet, and use a screwdriver. We think we are doing them favors when we do all this for them, but really we are not.
In her book, The Gift of Failure, author Jessica Lahey says, “Protecting our kids from failure, from experiencing small disasters and learning how to cope with them isn’t doing them any favors…Whether we overparent and protect out of a need for perfectionism, a desire to show affection, or a need to prove our parenting excellence, we deny our children the opportunity to be full members of the family with their own duties and responsibilities.”
If you love your kids–and I know you do!–give them the gift of NOT doing everything for them and teaching them to do it for themselves.