#145: Tough Love (Part 1)

by HopeNet Radio | Podcast

Who’s on this episode?

Jeff Strommen @jstrommen
Dave Wager @wagerdaw
Jason Kemper @kempster220
Terra Kay @terrakfree

Some of the hardest questions that we often get on the show have to do with how to love someone when they are continually and intentionally making poor choices in life. At what point does helping the person actually do more harm than good? This is especially difficult and one that Jeff and Dave share insights on in this series of podcasts on tough love.

Does using “tough-love strategies” work? What is tough love?

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Show Notes


Definition of tough love: promotion of a person’s welfare, especially that of an addict, child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them, or requiring them to take responsibility for their actions.

OR: being cruel to be kind; a form of parenting
OR: love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner (as through discipline) especially to promote responsible behavior.

Listen: Heroin made me feel OK, loved, accepted… —> NPR Interview



He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” (Proverbs 13:24)

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:5–6, 11)

Reprove, rebuke & exhort – Paul to Timothy

Evidence-Based Approaches to Drug Addiction Treatment


From Educational Connections Inc:

The most comprehensive study done on the topic looked at 9,000 families in the UK to discover the long-term effects of different parenting styles. The study found that children’s upbringing had a profound effect on social skills later in life. Those children with “tough love” parents were twice as likely to develop empathy, resiliency in the face of difficulty, will-power, and control over their emotions. The study states that, “Confident, skillful parents adopting a ‘tough love’ approach to parenting, balancing warmth with discipline, seem to be most effective in terms of generating these key character capabilities.” The principal author of the report, Jen Lexmond added, “far from a ‘soft’ skill, character is integral to our future success and wellbeing.”

Opponents of tough love parenting call it “bullying parenting.”

Were you ever shown tough love? Did it help you later in life? Let us know!

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