Should I Use Tough Love With My Child Who Is Using Substances? | The Partnership

A lot of times we’ll wind up hearing that
tough love is the way to get to your kid for them to be able to understand how upset you
are. You want him or her to understand that you’re
serious about this, that they can’t do this, that this behavior can’t continue, that they
can’t continue using drugs. Show him the tough love and things will change
for you. And it’s when a child is most vulnerable,
when a child most needs support, needs love and understanding and that can also be hard
for a parent to just take in because they’re behaving in the exact opposite way from what
you’ve taught them, from what you’ve shown them or from what you had hoped or dreamed
for them and with them. And tough love doesn’t necessarily have to
mean that you cut them off or that you’re no longer engaging with them in communication,
because what can be most helpful at this stage is to let them know that you’re present, to
let them know that you’re really trying to understand. It can be hurtful in cutting communication
with them because if you’re trying to figure out what’s going on, why are they using, what
are they engaging in this, it’s almost counter-productive to limit the communication or to say that
you no longer wanna hear with them when they’re already slipping away, when they’re already
withdrawing or isolating from you. 01:24 S1: So, tough love may not necessarily
be what could be the most productive or the most effective way for you to be able to connect,
understand or even begin to help your child. They may need you to ask them and to not give
up on them right now. It may be a very crucial time where they’re
feeling like they’re spiraling out of control themselves and they don’t necessarily know
exactly how to tell you just due to the shame, the guilt, the previous disagreements that
may have been happening and what that might do is just intensify a situation that’s already
difficult and it may make it even more so by having this very strain communication or
this very distant relationship versus if we’re looking at changing the dynamic and communication
and having the child understand that you’re there when they’re ready to talk, that you’re
there standing by willing to listen. And it’s not easy on the parent side, but
what we’re saying is this child needs you and can really benefit from you standing by
and just constantly reinforcing that you want to understand, you want to help; and that
together, you’ll be able to get to a better place.

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