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Tough Love


Terry McLain

I had to make a "tough love" choice for my four-year old son. I knew he could not get his way every time which would lead him to become a spoiled, pretentious adult - too many of them walking around.

His jaw set firm, eyes blazing, lips stuck out; he ran off to tell his Mommy about his mean, old Daddy.

"Dad is an idiot!"

I smiled inwardly as I heard my wife reply, "Tell me something I don't know."

Although sitting in the T.V. room, far removed from his little tantrum, I could still feel his anger shake the walls when my wife did not immediately rush to defend him.

"Dad is stoo-pid!"

I dug in my heels. No, not this time. The consequences would be too severe.

My wife walked upstairs; I laughed as I could see his questioning eyes following her up each step. When she was out of sight, the veins on his head were purple, but I was not too concerned. He did not have access to a pistol, shotgun, or bazooka. However, it did pass my thoughts briefly that this kid was shown "Terminator 2" by a babysitter.

No. I could not give in, I thought as I dug in my heels. I am the boss.

Of course, the boss thing is only an imaginary title -- you know, like the Kings of England.

My son, though, still had his problem. He turned to his 10-year old sister and slugged me with his most vicious insult.

"Nobody likes him!"

"If you just wait a couple minutes, I'll be done," I said calmly. His petty insults had no effect on me.

"Dad's an idiot," my daughter said, laughter choking her voice. "He's stupid and has no friends."

Most people would have been moved, but I would not budge. Idiots rarely do.

Tough Love -- all parents should make that choice, and today, I was not going to let him have his way.

Besides, I was only two minutes away from winning the Stanley Cup in Super Nintendo -- a major accomplishment that would be unequalled in recorded human history.

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