When Tough Love Is Garbage

Tough love makes us think real love hurts.

People who are big on tough love are famous for saying, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” They seem to go out of their way to teach their kids hard and painful lessons out of the belief that adversity builds character. That’s a dangerous manipulation.

Of course, you’re now raising kids who equate pain and suffering… with love.

It’s the kind of lesson they may carry well into adulthood. When a caregiver routinely causes a child to feel pain, they’ll grow up expecting the same from anyone else who supposedly loves them too.

Tough love maximizes entitlement and minimizes helpfulness.

Just imagine Mister Rogers promoting tough love instead of his kind, gentle, and unconditional love. Can you even picture it? I sure can’t, but then again Mister Rogers was all about raising healthy, well-adjusted adults who would become real-life helpers.

Tough love can’t breed the vulnerability and selflessness that Fred Rogers promoted.

Instead, tough love breeds entitlement and the attitude that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Tough love asks, why should I help you? It rates people on whether or not they’ve already suffered enough. It tears down far more than it ever builds up.

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