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“Tough Love” Made Easy

pinky-swear-329329_1280“BECAUSE I SAID SO!” I heard these words A LOT growing up. Even now, they bring up flashbacks of impatient parents in the toy aisle, refusing to buy that stuffed animal. In the grocery store, removing sugary cereal selections I thought I’d carefully hidden in our cart. But “Whyyyy?!” I wailed. My cries met only with a curt “BECAUSE I SAID SO.”

Determined to never offer that explanation to our children, many of today’s parents have gotten softer. And while some decisions definitely warrant explanation, constant compromising and justification have left today’s parents with the dreaded results: nap-time negotiation (please sweetie…it’s time for your nap!), dinnertime debate (just one bite of carrots and you can have a cookie!) and bedtime bartering (fine you can have your soother if you just please go to sleep! – words a Sleep Consultant would NEVER say).

So how do we end the daily struggle of bargaining with our babies without uttering the dreaded “Because I said so”?

Tough love. That’s how.

If I lost you at “tough,” don’t shy away! It’s only called tough love because it’s hard for parents to say no, to stand up to their children and reclaim the reins of parenthood. Disciplining your kids can feel rough, but remember tough love is a firm, warm style of parenting that teaches boundaries and respect, and fosters self-esteem and independence in children – something we all want our kids to have!

Children need to realize they can’t have exactly what they want when they want it – and that includes at bedtime. Scratch that – especially at bedtime. Baby and toddler, not to mention your, sleep is SO important.

So what’s a fed-up parent to do?

  1. Get Your Partner Onside: Parent consistently and support each other
  2. Resist Pester Power: Tough todays pave the way for better tomorrows
  3. Focus on the Long-term Vision
  4. Adjust Your Actions: Show that you’re the grown up and that means you’re in charge
  5. Consider Momentary Discomfort OK: We’re hardwired to respond to and protect our children, but that doesn’t mean giving into their every whim
  6. Be a Parent First: You’re their friend second
  7. Praise Proper Behaviour: They’ll keep repeating it, we swear!

Disciplining your kids can be hard, no doubt about it. But it will be so worth it! Decide to say hello to tough-love parenting, and goodbye to mealtime meltdowns and bedtime bargaining. Your kids will thank you. Eventually.