Disciples of “Tough Love”

We all have parents and more often than not they want what’s best for us. They want us to go to a good school. They want us to finish college. They want us to be successful in our chosen careers. They want us to find true love. They want us to have children. They want us to be happy. They want us to be healthy. But when does wanting what’s best for us turn from sweet into annoying? From caring into obsession? From reminding us to nagging us? When is enough enough and when is it too much?

We all have things about us that our parents want to change. You need a new hairstyle. You’re getting fat. You’re getting fatter. You’re not putting enough effort into meeting someone. Do you have a girlfriend? Do you have a boyfriend? When will you get married? When will I have grand-kids? 

You know what I’m talking about. That one thing our parents keep reminding us to change or get or find or have. Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents more than anything, but have you ever wished they would just stop caring too much. I don’t want them to stop caring all together, just a little less. After all I am turning 20 in less than 5 months, and I would love it if they would stop telling me to go on a diet or lose weight or join a gym or exercise. I get it, I know I’m fat. And not just that but they find the most inconvenient time to tell me to go on a diet. During dinner, when I’m eating, when I’m about to eat something. Actually, when I think about it, I think they’re timing it perfectly. They tell me to lose weight just before I put some fattening sugary treat in my mouth. But hey, can you blame me for loving food? It’s my ultimate vice. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke. I don’t gamble. I don’t do anything illegal but eat my food! Shouldn’t they be happy that I’m at home stuffing my face with McDonald’s instead of going out partying, drinking and doing drugs? Are my parents disciples of “tough love“?

It has been discovered in a study I found through the internet that tough love more often than not causes the problem to get worse rather than better. In some, cases tough love may work but there is a bigger chance that it won’t. Now, I am rebellious in spirit and so when I hear don’t I actually do. When my parents told me to lose weight, I went out and ate. When they told me to find a gym, I stayed home and wallowed in food. When they told me to go on a walk outside, I went straight to McDonald’s. It’s not that I want to gain more weight, it’s just my nature to do the opposite. Call me disobedient but I’m interesting that way. When should tough love stop and real love begin? When your kid gains 50 more pounds? When his marriage ends in divorce? When he replaces food addiction with drug addiction? When is it enough? When is it too much?

Well, here’s my proposal to all the parents out there (and this is coming from a teenager on the precipice of becoming an adult who loves his parents very much) when your child tells you to stop, they actually want you to stop. They know that you want what’s best for them and they know that you love them more than life itself but you have to know that when we hear those things it doesn’t make us want to become better, it makes us want to rebel. Don’t give us a reason to resent you because we love you. We adore you. So when we say enough, it really means enough.

Tough love is a controversial topic and as much as I want to go delve into it, I can’t because I’m not some parenting expert who has a doctorate on the topic and has released a critically acclaimed book. No, I’m just a kid, a child, a son, who knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of tough love. So take it from me and don’t take it personally.

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