Mike Rice, the former coach of Rutgers University's men's basketball team, was fired for what some might describe as a "tough love" form of coaching. In a dramatic videotape, he was caught yelling racial slurs, throwing things, brutally hitting and berating the players on his team. With his firing, a debate ensued as to whether this coaching style is outrageous or perfectly acceptable. It also leads to the neverending disagreement regarding a "tough love" form of parenting.
So is "tough love" the right parenting strategy for you? First, let me ask you this: Do you like the loved ones in your family to be verbally or physically abused? In my humble opinion, the words "tough" (in the manner that it was used by Mike Rice) and "love" don't even belong in the same sentence, particularly when you are talking about parenting. The old "I'm smacking you around because I love you" rationale just doesn't make any sense and falls squarely under the category of abuse.
Let me ask you something else, if it is possible to parent responsible, well-behaved, kind children without verbal and physical punishment, would you do it? The truth is that not only is it possible, but it's been done for thousands of years by many parents who refuse to use belittlement and physical punishment to raise their children. Now, many of you might leap to say, "But you are weak, permissive parents who let your children run the show!"
But here's the thing: children can and do learn many things through love, respect, kindness and solid boundary-setting. I'm a strict mom to my three children, yet I have never raised a hand to them, called them names or sought to belittle them in any way. And before you ask ... no, none of them are in jail.
More importantly, let me ask you how you learn best at work. Do you like to be yelled at, called names, smacked around, teased or humiliated? Me neither. I learn best when people are patient, kind, open and non-judgmental. What makes you think children learn better in a different environment than that? Keep reading ...
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