Parenting: Does Tough Love Work?

If we're a parent, we all experience it. I've seen it on Facebook today (thanks Red Ted Art!)
How do we keep those kids in line? How do we get them to do what we want?
How will we get them to listen and to keep on listening?
Yes, today, my lovelies it's all about parenting! Does tough love really work?
Have we the nerve to actually carry it through?
I mean, the professionals say, don't threaten if you're not actually going to do what you just say.
So you see, in recent weeks I have had to start listening to what I actually say to the kids! Often in the heat of the moment, when we are frustrated beyond belief, we rattle off some threats, don't really hear what we've just said, stomp about, slam some car doors, and it is almost as if, as soon as we've uttered the threat, it's gone! What on earth did I just say I would do?
You rack your brain but don't always manage to capture back that sentence,that threat, that speech bubble that's already drifted up and away, out of reach so you can no longer grab it back.
What on earth did we just say we'd do if they didn't do x y and z?
So I am trying to button it, be calm, and actually listen to what I say and hear every word of what they say back.
The professionals say if you lose it, get angry, snap and shout, you've lost.
Well that happens a lot too. There are days, times, weekends when I do shout alot *shifts uncomfortably in chair*.
Do you ever get those moments in time? OK days in time then? When you are so pre-occupied with who knows what, your mind never really seems to be on anything?
Well I seem to be in one of those phases, so many decisions to make, so many choices, and so much clutter in my brain. I am so pre-occupied I never seem to hear a complete sentence. I just switch off, or as my oldest says "zone out"! Did their sentence just peeter out or did I stop listening?

So does tough love actually work?

Today was a great example and yes, I will admit it! I am quite chuffed with my performance, with my calm, cool behaviour. I did not raise my voice once.
I made it clear there would be no lifts to the bus stop today. I made that quite clear, in a calm voice, as soon as the darlings awoke from their sleepiness this morning.
I then busied myself with preparing the lunch boxes for the day. (If you need ideas, hop over here for inspiration!)
We shall see later if tough love has worked or not.
The older two departed on foot to their prospective bus stops. No car required. Tick in the box for me.
The following events then all centred around this PE kit bag...

The phone went at 0745am and the conversation went something like this:

"Hi Mummy! I've forgotten my PE kit. Can you drive it in to school for me?"
"Are you on the bus?"
"Yes, I'm on the bus, but can you bring my kit to me?"
"What now?"
"Sorry but I have to get King Julien to school, then I have a meeting. What time is PE?"
"Third period"
"What does that mean? What time is that?"
"Sorry Spike. You will have to borrow some kit. I can't bring it in"
"See if you can borrow some from lost property. Talk to your teacher. You'll have to ask your mates or be creative!"
The phone line goes dead...

I replace the receiver and carry on making the youngest's packed lunch... I desperately try not to think any more about it.

Trouble is, ever since the call, I have felt incredibly guilty. Should I drive it to him? It is after all 20 minutes down the motorway, at top speed, so it is not that close by, nor handy. It would take an hour round trip.
If I do take it to him, how will he learn?
And yes, I do have that meeting to attend.
The policy at the oldest's school is they will refuse to take anything in at reception, if a parent brings it in. Yes, it is tough love, but how else should you handle it?
What would you do?
He is 12 years old by the way...

So what do you do? Does tough love work for you?

Tough Love Parent / The Lunch Box Lady x

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