Is Tough Love Ever Good to Use?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

man looking sternly at woman

The dictionary defines tough love as “promotion of a person’s welfare, especially that of [a person with an addiction], child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them or requiring them to take responsibility for their actions”. When it comes to parenting, you may have used some tough love. According to Very Well Family Magazine, tough love can be effective if it doesn’t involve:

  • Shaming, embarrassing, or abusing a person in any way
  • Taking away the basic needs of a child or teenager
  • Favoring harsh rules or punishments

However, each circumstance is different and when it comes to substance abuse and addiction, tough love may or may not be an appropriate choice to use.

On a societal scale, it seems that resources and support are more beneficial than tough love. For example, Dr. Gaber Mate, an addiction expert, speaker, and best-selling author, explained for Time Magazine that enforcing more sterilization clinics is providing a safe place for those with an addiction to use without encouraging their use. In fact, it is said that safe-injection sites are a place for individuals to not only find clean, sterile needles, but also to learn more about overdose and drug safety, resources for seeking treatment, and more.

On a personal level, tough love can be beneficial if your loved one has been overstepping boundaries regarding your own personal health, energy, safety, and financial resources. One tough love mechanism that could be very useful is to host an intervention – the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) states that because many loved ones with an addiction are in denial, hosting an intervention could be a great way to confront the person in a loving, direct manner. There are several types of interventions but having an intervention specialist could help your loved one feel more supported while everyone is educated on the effects of addiction.

If you have conducted and intervention with your loved one or are in the process of researching resources, be sure to obtain information from a reputable treatment center.





Hidden within the seclusion of a lush estate, the residential homes of Avalon Malibu sit, offering the privacy and premiere clinical treatment you want for your loved one. Our treatment programs offer both mental health and substance use disorder care. As one of California’s only primary certified treatment centers, our ability to provide holistic, personalized, co-occurring care is unparalleled. Call us today for information: 888-958-7511.

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