Should I Use Tough Love With My Child Who Is Using Substances? [VIDEO]

Using “tough love” is one of the most commonly-suggested ways to deal with a son or daughter’s substance use. But often, if your child is struggling with drugs or alcohol, that’s the time that he or she is at their most vulnerable. It might be when a parent’s love, support and understanding could be of the most benefit.

It’s not an easy task, to help and try to not intensify a conversation when you’re a parent in this position. But there are ways to show your son or daughter that you’ll be there when they’re ready to get help.

Watch Helpline Specialist Karla explain how to think about using “tough love” to deal with your son’s or daughter’s substance use differently:

Get One-on-One Help About Using Tough Love

Connect with one of our Helpline Specialists by phone, text or email and get help making an action plan.

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    Ron Grover

    November 6, 2019 at 4:22 PM


    Very good video. I struggled mightily with the concept of tough love early on when my son was using. Eventually I learned to hate the term and understand the natural danger of using that concept.

    I wrote an essay for The Partnership on how I felt about the term several years ago on the Parent Blog. Years ago I wrote and post for my blog my about my feelings. You can find it here if you are interested.

    Keep up your good work.

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    Rhonda Hardin

    August 12, 2019 at 11:06 PM

    Looking for help dealing with my 30 year old daughter who is on meth. I have custody of my grandchildren, all 3 children live with me and I had to call the police and put my daughter out of my home, in addition my husband passed away 14 months ago.

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      Josie Feliz

      August 13, 2019 at 10:50 AM

      Thanks for your message Rhonda. We have forwarded your message to one of our helpline specialists who can help better answer your question, and she will be reaching out to you shortly. Our Helpline is a good place to start if you’d like to talk to someone about what you’re going through. Feel free to connect with us in whichever manner you choose in the future:
      Thank you. -The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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