I think many of us have heard the words Tough Love before, but do we know what they really mean? I mean, can we really understand what it entails unless we have been there?
In my humble opinion, I that Tough Love is different for every parent and family. Everyone is unique, as are their experiences.
Having said that, I do think there are similarities that connect us as parents who desperately love our challenging children and want nothing but the best for them. The primary issue with that many of us face is helping our children to stay on the right path.
In the Lost and Tired family, Gavin is obviously our child that requires Tough Love. To me, that means that we have to do things that we don’t necessarily want to, in order to give Gavin the best shot at life he can have. A perfect example of this is having him admitted to the psychiatric unit for behavioral reasons.
As a parent, it’s so incredibly painful to have to make that kind of decision and it never gets any easier. We don’t do this but of anger, frustration or resentment, although those feelings are all present. The reason we make the decision to send our son away, is because we know that he needs help that we can’t provide for him at home. There may be safety concerns as well and the welfare of our other boys that have to be paramount as well.
I know that Gavin is angry with us for sending him but our hope is that something will click and he will learn something from the experience.
We live in constant fear of what his life will be like if these behaviors continue. The last thing in the world we want is for him to spend his life in and out of prison or psychiatric hospitals when he gets older. It’s easy to sit there and say that he’s only 12 years old. However, not many 12 year olds are capable of the things that he is. Gavin feels no remorse for any of his actions, outside the frustration of getting caught and subsequently held accountable. I truly feel that Gavin is incapable of feeling guilty. This isn’t just my opinion either, his many doctors agree as well.
Does this mean that we don’t love Gavin? Absolutely not..
What this means is that we have employ a different approach to him than we do with his siblings. We have to work extra hard to deter his behavior and help him to make better choices. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task and sometimes it requires us to do things that we never dreamt we would ever have to do. We do these things, these Tough Love things, because we are fighting for his future. We are fighting to help him make better decisions. We are fighting to improve his quality of life.
When it comes to Gavin, we have to be creative with discipline and consequences because typical approaches don’t work.
While he may be angry with us for holding him accountable and doling out consequences that make him even angrier, we do this but of love. We do this out of hope that something, someday, will reach him and help him to make better decisions.
I’m not sure who Tough Love is harder on, us or him. All I know is that we have to constantly remind ourselves that we are doing for him, not against him. Does that make sense?
That’s what Tough Love is for the Lost and Tired family.
It means we do whats best for our Gavin, regardless of how angry because gets or how little he understands. We do it, even when it breaks our heart to do so, and trust me, it does…..