Too often tough love is a term people use to explain away ruthlessness and cruelty. Taking food from your child does not fall into the category of tough love, even when your child is 20 years old and, like most 20 year olds I know, has a penchant for junk food (it ain’t like a lot of us older folks don’t like it too, duh).
And so it was a found myself spitting bullets yesterday when I learn that a father and stepmother moved out of their home leaving their 20-year-old daughter step-daughter behind and, wait for it, the took all the food with them, leaving her with something like an open carton of milk and juice. The reason? They are teaching her a lesson because she likes junk food.
My question for these two it’s-hard-to-believe well-intended nitwits is this. What the fuck were you eating when you were twenty? Were you living on cups of hot purified air and plates piled high with wheat germ? Are you kidding me? You take away the food to teach a lesson? That’s not teaching, that’s damaging. That’s not love, it’s cruelty and, to use a word whose class matches the class of the two I’m aiming at right now, it’s bullshit.
All choices like the one referenced in this piece do is wound, often deeply, the person or persons the so-called tough-love crowd say they are trying to help.
Taking food from your child has nothing to do with tough. It also has nothing to do with love.