You could be your kid’s first, and biggest bully, without even realizing it. What most refer to as ‘tough love’ is sometimes, simply put, bullying. Most of the hurtful things your children have heard, were first said by you; not behind their backs, but right in their faces. And by the people they trusted and loved the most, their own parents.

Nobody said that children should not be corrected. All parents’ hope is that they raise their kids to be responsible, successful adults. This will never be possible if you let them have their way. Discipline is paramount and pivotal to the positive growth of a child, no doubt. How you mete that discipline, either makes or destroys your child. It substantially bridges the gap between responsible, happy adults, and resentful, fearful, adults.

Words have power

Words are potent. Sometimes, it is not so much what is said, rather it is who says it and how it is said. If your child is going to hear hurtful comments in their life, it should never be from you, the parent. You are where the negative things that they have heard come to die, you should never be a source of more. Truth be told, if your child does not like being called fat by other people, they won’t like hearing it from you either.

Comparison is the thief of joy

Most parents, inherently, compare their kids to other kids. Show me a 13-year-old and I will show you a kid who has been asked, on more than one occasion, why they can’t be like so and so. Why can’t they get better marks than… Why can’t they take part in sports like… Why can’t they sing in Church like.. This will make the child feel insufficient. If you compare your kids to others, and comparison is the thief of joy, then you can just imagine how much joy you have been stealing from your kids. A dent in their self esteem can take years to restore.

Mental health could stem from parental bullying

It is good that mental health awareness has taken centre-stage. What people don’t realize is that deep seated mental issues like anxiety and depression can be traced back to bullying from parents. Make sure you do not create an avenue to destroy your child’s mental health.

Be careful how you address your child

There are somethings we learn from our parents then carry them forward to our children. The toughest part of being an adult is recognizing the faults of our own parents and adults who were in our lives, and ensuring we don’t repeat the same on our own kids. This ‘tough love’ ought be practiced within limits.