Parenting FAQs

What Is Tough Love Parenting?

Tough love parenting involves harsh or stern measures meant to help the child in the long run. Stringent rules and tough discipline characterize it. On some occasions, it strongly resembles authoritarian parenting.

Also, read on this website

Experts say that rigidness does not promote children’s proper growth, but it has proven to have some benefits, especially in children five years old and younger. However, the available research on tough love parenting tends to concentrate on its effects to demonstrate a need for better and more logical strategies.

Tough Love Parenting Strategies

Tough love parenting can be difficult to apply because the child often becomes rebellious. However, if executed properly, the child’s behavior could drastically improve. Below are some ways to implement tough love parenting:

  1. Respect. Parenting based on mutual respect is the best and most fulfilling. Respect the child and teach the child to show respect in return.
  2. Be firm. Sometimes parents have to do whatever it takes to protect their child from harm. Even though their methods may be harsh, if the parents stay firm and mean business, the child will learn to take responsibility. In the process, the child needs to understand that their parents will do anything to protect them.
  3. Consistency. Being consistent will teach the child to take their parents seriously. They may be sulky at first, but they will eventually yield when they see that the parents are not relenting.
  4. Show care and curiosity.  Make a conscious effort to be in the child’s life and be aware of all the child’s activities and friends. Involvement, coupled with an emotional connection through demonstrations of love and affection, will encourage the child to open up and improve communication between the parents and their child.
  5. Clarity and conciseness. Let the child know what the rules and expectations are and what the consequences are for breaking them. If need be, write down all the rules so the child can refer to them. Be open and clear to prevent misunderstanding.

When to Use Tough Love Parenting

  1. Lazy children. One reason to use tough parenting strategies is that the child is lazy and avoids chores and responsibility. Implement measures that help reform the child’s behavior. If necessary, withdraw privileges until the child fulfills his or her responsibilities.
  2. Forgetful children. Some children forget things often. For example, a child may forget to bring home his or her water bottle after school. One tough love strategy is to let the child go without water for a few hours to learn from the mistake.
  3. Disobedient children. Chronic rule breakers may need tough love parenting to get them back on the right path. For example, if a child watches movies or plays games long past the allotted time, consider temporarily withdrawing those privileges until they learn to obey the rules.

Tough love parenting requires a lot of patience, calmness, and consistency to be effective. Experts say that, if implemented correctly, tough love parenting produces children who are self-conscious and who can handle many situations more easily. Thus it can ultimately have some lasting, positive effects.


  • Pieper, Martha Heineman, and William J. Pieper. “It’s Not Tough, It’s Tender Love: Problem Teens Need Compassion That the ‘Tough-Love’ Approach to Child-Rearing Doesn’t Offer Them.” Child Welfare 71, no. 4 (1992): 369–377. Retrieved from [pdf]
  • Jordan, Bill. Social Work and the Third Way: Tough Love as Social Policy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2000.
Roselia Shi

Hello! I am Roselia Shi, mom to a feisty two+ years old girl named Tara. We live in Newport, Arkansas. I enjoy solving everyday health and parenting problems. I have a university degree in allied health sciences. I started exploring science-based parenting soon after Tara was born. Parenting Science is a small attempt to share some useful information and insights about responsive parenting.

View Comments

Recent Posts

Can Diet Changes Help Prevent Asthma?

Despite the numerous control and prevention measures available, the incidence of asthma has not diminished. Some of the most studied…

7 months ago

Top Books on Montessori Education and Parenting

How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way How To Raise An Amazing Child the Montessori Way Author: Tim…

1 year ago

Montessori Parenting Quotes Illustration

Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy and was the first Italian woman to become a physician. She is…

1 year ago

What Is Montessori Parenting?

Montessori parenting encompasses ideas drawn from the studies of Maria Montessori and the famous Montessori movement. Montessori parenting is a…

1 year ago

Maria Montessori’s Inspiring Parenting Quotes

Who is Maria Montessori behind the Montessori Parenting? Maria Montessori (1870-1952) One hundred years ago a young Italian woman, Dr.…

1 year ago

Do Massages Help Newborns with Low Birth Weight?

Newborns with low birth weight are vulnerable to a significant number of diseases during early childhood. If not treated properly,…

2 years ago

This website uses cookies.