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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Toughlove: It starts with You!

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a Toughlove conference in Melbourne, Australia.  “Toughlove is a parent support group, run by parents for parents experiencing difficulties with their children”. 

The purpose of the two day conference was to provide information, training and motivation to nurture future leaders of Toughlove.  It was a weekend where I experienced many mixed emotions, however a writing exercise brought together my thoughts and experiences culminating into an epiphany of inspired personal growth.

Given the first part of the sentence, I wrote the following.

The period of time in my life began when . . . . . . .
I allowed myself to let my daughter go.

 I was reminded of this moment when the following discussion question was asked “How long does it take toughlove to work?”  One of the people in the group responded to the question with “It starts working when we let it.”

We cannot change our children but we can change ourselves, but we can only change ourselves when we are open and allow ourselves to change.  Toughlove provides a supportive, caring, non-judgemental environment where we can feel safe to slowly and gradually explore different ways to implement change in ourselves which subsequently elicits change in other people’s behaviour towards us.

One of my favourite quotes reflects this.
“Be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to let my daughter go that I was able to grow and move forward.  Letting my daughter make her own decisions and experience the consequences, both good and bad, of her decisions, gave us both personal power and released me from the guilt and powerlessness that I had been feeling.

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