when to use tough love with teens

Powerful Ideas about Tough Love for Teens in 2022

Tough love is a term that gets thrown around in parenting circles and it often leaves people wondering if they’re doing the right thing. It can be difficult for parents to use tough love for teens. Let’s uncover the truth about tough love and how you can use it to help your kids learn and grow.

What is Tough Love Parenting?

Tough love is a parenting tool some parents use in difficult situations. It involves discipline and boundaries to produce changes in behavior.

A parent’s duty includes setting reasonable limits, providing consequences for inappropriate behavior, enforcing those limits, and teaching the difference between right or wrong. It also requires parents to teach kids about making good decisions in order to avoid future hardship–and that includes making tough decisions.

Some parents also believe that allowing a child to experience the consequences of their actions will help them become more responsible in the future, and teach them how to make better choices when faced with similar circumstances again.

RELATED: How to Parent a Strong-Willed Teenager

tough love for teens
tough love for teens

The Basics of Tough Love

At its very core, tough love is when parents set boundaries and consequences for kids who continue to disobey. It’s often used in situations with kids who exhibit particularly risky behavior.

Benefits of Tough Love

  • Tough love can be helpful for those who are rebellious and disobedient.
  • It also provides the opportunity to teach kids about boundaries, consequences, making good decisions, responsibility–all of which will hopefully improve a child’s future behavior in any given situation.
  • It can change behavior in the short term

Examples of Tough Love

  • Refusing to pay bond for your arrested child to get out of jail
  • Forcing an addicted child into rehab
  • Letting a child fail school if they refuse to attend
  • Kicking a child out of the house for drug or alcohol use
  • Cutting off communication to an abusive child

Is Tough Love Healthy?

Some parents believe that tough love is necessary to help their child in the long term, but others feel it’s an unhealthy form of punitive discipline.

The decision ultimately comes down to each individual parent and what they’re comfortable with when faced with similar situations. But there are some things you should keep in mind if you plan on using this parenting technique.

Studies have shown that tough love can be effective in the short term, but long-term effects have not been thoroughly researched. There is some indication that it can lead to long-term relapses in behavior.

Tips for Tough Love

  • Use it as a last resort when a child’s behavior becomes too extreme
  • Be present in the disciplinary process, and follow through with your boundary setting
  • Offer counseling for both you and your kids throughout this tough transition time. Your mental health is important as well!
  • Don’t try to control your child; help them make better choices for themselves.


Tough love is a parenting technique some parents implement to produce changes in behavior and helps kids develop the skills they need for future situations. It consists of discipline, boundaries, consequences, decision-making skills–and it can be helpful or harmful depending on how you use it. Carefully consider all aspects before using tough love with your teens.

What You Should Do Next…

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