Studies Show A “Tough Love” Parenting Style Creates More Harm Than Strength

It’s not easy being a parent. It’s a full time job on top of everything else going on in your life, it is a life time commitment! Everyone has their own parenting style, but some seem to work better than others.

When your kid is crying about a little cut, spilling some ice cream or not being able to find their rubber ducky, it’s easy to have a “suck it up” kind of energy. You get tired, you want your kid to figure it out themselves; but is this really healthy for them? shutterstock_415878451

Studies suggest this kind of parenting style could lead to emotional problems later in your child’s life. A writer for Slate, Melinda Wenner Moyer wanted to see what the best method of parenting was for her 5 year old.
She talked to some child psychologists to see if a tough love type of parenting was better for children.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not.

In a study of 33 preschoolers, researchers saw that children had more melt downs and intense emotional reactions when parents reacted harshly to their negative emotions.

When parents didn’t come to comfort them when they were upset, the research concluded that it was much more difficult for the child to behave in a socially competent manner. 

Children are naturally sensitive, emotional and absorbent beings. They soak up information, energy and emotion like a sponge that holds onto the experience as they grow up. 


Children need to be shown love to know how to give it back. Many children who are shown love from an early age, aren’t taught how to naturally show love back.

2015 study showed that male college students who were punished by their mothers when they got upset, had more anger issues than boys who had supportive moms. For girls, they only showed anger issues if their relationship with their mom continued to be strained as they grew up.

You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that loving children is inherent and the right thing to do. We are naturally loving creatures, and when we create the right, supportive environments, everyone thrives together.  It can be difficult to be in a good mood around your child when you feel overly stressed or overworked. 
If you are a parent, practice mindfulness with your child. If you feel like you’re stressed and will get angry at your child, take a breath before interacting with them. The first years of a child’s life are fundamental in creating the kind of person they will be. shutterstock_382386541
They are inherently wise, they can feel emotions deeply; that is why they cry when any little things happen.
They are learning to explore their emotions and how to express them to the world. Don’t invalidate your child for showing emotion or being excited about little things.
It’s important to be able to express yourself as a child. Give your child love and nurturing when they are upset, and it will create an unbreakable bond between you two.
Thanks to Scary Mommy for this article!

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