tough love

Rarely a day goes by where I don’t hear young children and teenagers speaking in an extremely disrespectful manner toward their parents, even cussing at their parents. What I find most amazing is that the

disrespectful-cussing-kids-thumbnail-2 Rarely a day goes by where I don’t hear young children and teenagers speaking in an extremely disrespectful manner toward their parents, even cussing at their parents. What I find most amazing is that the disrespectful, inflammatory language towards their parents often goes completely ignored. Not so much as a parent firmly telling their children not to speak to them that way, that such language will not be tolerated, followed by appropriate punishment to really drive home the point. I shake my head in disbelief and complete disappointment in parents these days, who are shirking their responsibility to be tough but loving, teaching and training their children in matters of respect towards parents and other authority figures. Parents who don’t get this problem under control while their children are still very young, are in for a real shock when they reach the “surviving the teen years” stage.

Parents tell their children not to whine, complain, throw a temper tantrum, hit their brother or sister etc, but when the parents are upset or frustrated about something, profanities start flying without hesitation. School teachers struggle to maintain decorum and control of classrooms full of disrespectful children and teenagers, only to be told by parents that their job is to teach math and science, not subjective morality. Women who used to flinch at the utterance of coarse language are more commonly using the very words previously thought of as repulsive and vulgar.

Gone are the days of men controlling their use of cuss words and other vulgarities in the presence of women. Parents who verbally abuse each other, calling each other hurtful names, using profane language with each other, are equally guilty of abusing their children by such speech. Is it any wonder that our society is filled with children and teenagers who have zero respect for any form of authority, especially their own parents? What is a parent to do?

Set the right example-

Television programs, movies, actors and actresses, children’s cartoons, video and online games are loaded with profane and vulgar language, yet parents don’t pay close enough attention to what they’re children are learning from them. Teaching children how to be respectful towards others, controlling their emotions and dealing with their problems, cannot be learned by regularly exposing children to such things in the media or from their own parents mouths.

I recently overheard my eighteen year-old daughter talking on the telephone to one of her classmates saying, “Dude, I can’t believe you just said that to your mom. My mom would kill me if I talked to her that way!” Although I’m not one to “kill” my child for any reason, my children learned from a very young age to speak and behave in a respectful manner to everyone they came in contact with, maintaining zero tolerance of disrespect or cussing for any reason. They were taught to learn new words to convey their thoughts, emotions and feelings, without resorting to vulgarities. My biggest concern was not “surviving the teen years” with my children, but was more broadly focused on not raising “children who refuse to grow up” and making sure they grew up understanding that there is a difference between “helping and enabling” children, so they would grow up to become self-sufficient adults.


Making substitutions-

It is my firm belief that cussing and swearing, whether by children or adults, is simply lazy language skills. Cussing and swearing puts an immediate point across, leaving its meaning and tone very clear to anyone in listening range. Just because such language is more commonly used, and supposedly some of its harshness has been lost, doesn’t make it alright. Striving to build ones vocabulary with words that communicate just as clearly and effectively doesn’t have to become stale, monotonous, tedious, boring, trite or lackluster.

cuss-control-thumbnail-2James O’Connor, author of Cuss Control: The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing (Three Rivers Press), suggests teaching children alternative words such as shoot, darn it, phooey, for crying out loud, and my old favorite dognabit. For young children who are just beginning to use cuss words, it’s important not to laugh about it, but get down on your hands and knees and look them in the eyes and say, “We don’t use words like that in our family” and mean it. Parents who need to learn to curb their own tendencies towards such language do well to openly apologize to their children when making a slip into vulgarity, with genuine promises to continue doing better.

Appropriate discipline needed-

parenting-solutions-thumbnail-2Linda Metcalf, author of Parenting Toward Solutions (Prentice Hall), recommends “make the word, not the child, the culprit to give him a chance to move away from the behavior”. If the child persists in using such language, Linda emphasizes the need to “show him you mean business with appropriate disciplinary action”. For very young children, it may mean a time-out or taking away a favorite toy. For older children it may mean spending some time in their room (preferably a room without a television or computer) where they can analyze their behavior.

But most importantly, parents must set the right example for their children, themselves behaving and speaking with proper respect toward others, without resorting to the perceived “easy way out” of cussing.

Helpful Resources:

Raising Children with Tough Love
Surviving The Teen Years
Cuss Control: The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing
Parenting Toward Solutions: How Parents Can Use Skills They Already Have to Raise Responsible, Loving Kids

Categories: Abuse, Children, Family, Parenting, Teenagers, Women – Tags: cuss control, cussing kids, disrespectful children, disrespectful teenagers, kids that cuss, parenting toward solutions, respect for authority, teaching respect to kids, tough love

children-2 If you are a parent of even just one child you understand that parenting is the toughest job anyone could have. Of course there are also many joys that accompany bringing little ones into the world, with all the cute little things they say and do. As children grow in age and size the tough responsibilities of parenting become more clear. Parents expecting their first child oftentimes load up on parenting books in order to learn tips and tricks to become the “perfect parent”, only to find that each book offers very different strategies and tactics towards “perfect parenting”.

One author might recommend discipline in the form of spanking, whereas another author would vehemently oppose spanking but recommend putting your child in “time out”. Reality television shows and talk shows attempt to teach parents how to regain structure and control of households with children running amuck. To put it mildly, parenting is tough. Tough Love advocates discuss parenting children and teens who’ve become involved with drugs and alcohol, but today‘s society of children and young adults, believing the world “owes” them everything, gives new reason for broader understanding towards parenting with tough love.

What Tough Love Is-

Raising children with Tough Love is just that: tough. We love our children with every inch of our soul, doing our utmost to provide for their need of food, clothing, shelter, personal attention, guidance, direction, appropriate discipline when needed, a good education, recreation and more. Tough love is required in order to properly handle the inevitable disagreements, conflicts, arguments, and even physical battles that sometimes occur in families today.

selfreliant-thumbnailParents that have the tendency to quickly give in to their children’s every want and whim, or give in after their child has a conniption fit in the toy or grocery store, are systematically setting themselves up for failure. It is your responsibility as parent to raise your children to be respectful and self-reliant. Parents must “let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no”.

Each and every time a parent portrays weakness towards children’s demands, ultimately giving in after a battle of wills, all the hard work of initially standing your ground has been for nothing. Rather than the parents raising the children, it quickly becomes the children ruling the household, or as Dr. Phil would say, “the tail wagging the dog”.

Tough Love In Action-

I’m often amazed at the number of parents who routinely give the warning “I’m going to count to three…” How many times have children actually done what was asked of them after the parent said “One“? None that I’ve seen. More often than not children will wait until after the parent has counted past “two” before reluctantly beginning to take action. Raising children with Tough Love requires that the parent be in control of the situation. When a child is asked to do something, perhaps pick up toys or clean their room, children should know without a shred of doubt in their mind that you mean Now.

Tough Love Is Not Bullying-

screamfree-parenting-thumbnailTough love does not mean behaving as a tyrant or dictator. Screaming at your children, threatening bodily harm if your wishes are not adhered to, is not parenting with love. It only makes you a bully. You want your children to respectfully and obediently comply with your wishes, not cower in fear of what they think a parent might do to them. Children learn what they live, and they will grow up to pass the same onto their own children.

Tough Love Does Not Allow Enabling-

Many of today’s parents are preoccupied with trying to be friends with their children rather than parenting their children. Maintaining a close bond with your children, including a great deal of deep and meaningful communication, does not minimize the enormous responsibility of raising your children to become independent, self-sufficient adult members of society. There are vast differences in the advice and opinions many children and teens share with each other, versus what a responsible adult parent would advise. Can parents really afford to confuse their roles, allowing themselves to be placed in the position of becoming their children’s peer, rather than that of being the responsible parent?

Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids-

respectfulparents-thumbnailParents have only one shot in this life to raise their children to become upstanding, respectable adults, where they will then pass it onto the next generation and the next. While parents may wish there were some magical, trick-filled manual on how to raise children, it really boils down to doing the very best job of parenting possible. And praying a lot.

205723471-6Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children As long as we continue to keep enabling our adult children, they will continue to deny they have any problems, since most of their problems are being “solved” by those around him. Only when our adult children are forced to face the consequences of their own actions—their own choices—will it finally begin to sink in how deep their patterns of dependence and avoidance have become. And only then will we as parents be able to take the next step to real healing, forever ending our enabling habits and behaviors.

The Toughlove Prescription “Inspired by the revolutionary bestseller Toughlove,” a guide to help parents discipline their children with love and consistency. “Toughlove” was an international bestseller and one of the first guidebooks for parents of extremely troubled teens. “The Toughlove Prescription picks up where the million-plus mega-seller left off, helping you discipline your children, who live in a world saturated by cell phones, the Internet, and graphic displays of nudity and violence. Dr. Ron Zodkevitch helps you apply the Toughlove techniques to more-common problems such as a messy room, smoking, and homework. He also incorporates a new, four-step program for you to reach out to your teens.

Related Post:

How to Stop Enabling: When Our Grown Children Disappoint Us
Support Groups for Parents with Grown Adult Children Living at Home with Parents

Categories: Children, Education, Friendship, Parenting, Teenagers – Tags: raising children to take care of themselves, raising children with tough love, raising responsible children, tough love