- Kenton E. Biffert
Tough Love is ... tough.
No parent likes disciplining their child. Discipline is hard. We have to gear up for a possible fight (that we must win), have multiple consequences (natural and punishments) on hand, manage our tone of voice to ensure the right effect, keep our temper intact, and all this in order to lead our children to making the right decisions on their own. Forcing the right decision is always the last resort.
Within this daily turbulence found in the great adventure called 'Family', we sometimes experience great sorrow in our discipline.
This is how I felt today. My son, in a bad mood for some reason at the supper table, let his mouth get away with him which resulted in him being very disrespectful and ungrateful. A consequence was warranted. I took the natural consequence approach.
I took away what he was ungrateful for, namely, the remote control helicopter he received for Christmas.
This was the present, that when he opened it, he through himself at me in gratitude and joy. Now I was taking it away from him. It hurt me as much as it hurt him I think. All night long I longed to give in and give it back to him. My stomach turned and I didn't enjoy my eggnog.
But, I kept to my guns. As tough as it is, there is a lesson to be learned. My son and I talked after all the other children were in bed and I explained that there are consequences for what comes out of our mouth and much damage can happen if we don't watch our words carefully.
He apologized and was forgiven and sent to bed. Without this helicopter.
Tough love is ... tough.
But, it is worth it, if the lesson is learned and he chooses to grow in virtue from this experience. And that is our goal as parents: not to give them everything they desire, but to lead them on the path to holiness via the development of virtues. And this takes strength and wisdom to do.