Extra Love, Hold the Tough

Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I’ve heard that boys should be raised differently than girls. “Tough love” has often been the defining factor in raising boys versus girls. As a girl mom, I’ve heard the common misconception–you know the one–that says girls are worse than boys because of their “attitudes.” I’ve also heard that boys are rougher than girls, and girls are prone to be more sensitive. I wholeheartedly feel that each child is different and require different types of attention and discipline. However, no matter how different or challenging child-rearing may be, all children deserve the same type of love. Unconditional.

Too often I see parents turn to societal expectations and toxic familial traditions for guidance on how to “love” their children. From spanking to boys-don’t-cry debates, my stance will always remain the same.

The world doesn’t have to love or accept my child because I always will.

As a daughter and a parent, I know that uncomfortable and unavoidable situations will always arise. As parents, we all cling to the same strand of hope that we can protect our children from the physical harm and harsh words of this world, but that’s unrealistic. The time comes for all kids when their parents aren’t around, and they are tested and/or mistreated in some manner. Even in adulthood, we get hurt and return home, wounded with our figurative tail tucked between our legs.

Withholding comfort and pushing the “suck it up” mentality is often more detrimental to our kids in the long run. Home is supposed to be a safe space for kids. A place of refuge, free of judgment, and abundant in peace. Dysfunction exists in variations across the board in many families. I mean come on, no one is perfect. But when the world is cold, and our kids can’t find comfort at home, where do we expect them to find it? Is it still considered “home” if it offers less peace than the world?

It is our responsibility as parents to help our kids.

Encouraging and teaching them to cope and fend for themselves is expected to a certain extent. Still, there are times when they need advice, a shoulder to cry on, and/or that special touch that only parents can provide.

One day I hope to have a son and I highly doubt that the love he is shown, will be any different than the love that my daughter is constantly showered with. My goal as a mom is to always strive to understand my child and love them through everything. So, I won’t make it a habit or tradition to exercise “tough love.” Our household will be filled with hugs and kisses, sound advice, listening ears, open arms, and unconditional love.


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