60 Tough Love Quotes – Sometimes You Just Have to Be Tough

Tough love is definitely that. Tough. It’s ironic but oftentimes, the best way we can help somebody is to hold ourselves back. Helping out once or twice is fine but invariably doing it all the time for somebody who never learns is detrimental for that friend, sibling, relative, or colleague.

Tough Love Quotes

When we don’t practice the art of tough love when we need to, our loved ones inevitably become spoilt, ignorant of the consequences of their actions, and ultimately start feeling entitled. All in all, these are things we don’t want for the people we love and cherish.

Whenever you feel your resolve crumbling, just scroll down through these wise tough love quotes to get you back on track. Don’t feel bad! You’re doing it for the greater good.

By not standing firm and by not exercising tough love, we often cause the figurative ‘death’ of others and sometimes ourselves, our goals, our destiny. – Deborah Smith Pegues

bette davis quote

If you have never been hated by your child you have never been a parent. – Bette Davis

Children learn more from what you are than what you teach. – W.E.B. DuBois

Don’t be upset about the results you didn’t get, from the work you didn’t do. 

Heading wrong path quote

And at the end of the day, we all just want someone to tell us when we are heading down the wrong path. That is true tough love.

Gotta love a woman that can hand you your own ass. – Penelope Douglas, Until You

Hearts are tough, Most times they don’t break. Most times they are only bend. – Stephen King

Hope is important. It allows you to survive. But there’s a point where tough love is required if you want to change. Action is necessary. It allows you to live. – Brittany Burgunder

amy vanderbilt quote

Parents must get across the idea that I love you always, but sometimes I do not love your behavior. – Amy Vanderbilt

I am tough, and sometimes I tell it like it is. Tough love can work wonders. – Bikram Choudhury

I believe in tough love. But for tough love to work, love must come first. – Jon Gordon

If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse. 

randi g fine quote

When we don’t allow others to suffer the consequences of their actions we cripple them emotionally. We deprive them of the ability to learn from their mistakes. We also take away their ability to overcome their problems and change their life for the better. – Randi G Fine

It can’t be done for you; it must be done by you. – Frank Sonnenberg

It’s tough love. They know I care. – Leo Nesmith

Just because I love you unconditionally does not mean I’m going to co-sign your behavior unconditionally. You are going to learn the difference one way or the other. 

julian barnes quote

You realize that tough love is also tough on the lover. – Julian Barnes

Life is rough so you gotta be tough. – Johnny Cash

Love isn’t about rules. It’s a feeling. You know when it’s there and when it’s not, and it can be brought on by different things for different people. That, that’s truth. One’s truth leads to God. Some people see it in kindness, others in tough love, like you’re showing me. Someone’s truth is in what they love. – A.D. Aliwat

Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult. – Nadia Boulanger

stephanie bennett henry quote

Life is tough, my darling, but so are you. – Stephanie Bennett Henry

It takes tough love to order kids to step away from the iPhone or iPad during dinner or to take the devices away if they’re interrupting and interfering with everyone else’s pleasure at a movie, concert or other public event. – Regina Brett

Real love is tough love. Why? Because it’s never easy. It hurts the giver far more than the receiver. – Bobby W. Miller

e a bucchianeri quote

Receiving tough love is never easy, especially when you know the person is right.

An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear. – E.A. Bucchianeri

Some people create their own storms, then get upset when it rains. 

Some people need to learn to be a parent and not a friend. Quit being scared of making your kids mad. They’ll get over it. 

Sometimes giving into that tough love is exactly what you need.

Endure more than you can thing quote

At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.

Sometimes you must seem to hurt something in order to do good for it. – Susan Cooper

The greatest gift a parent can give a child is unconditional love. As a child wanders and strays, finding his bearings, he needs a sense of absolute love from a parent. There’s nothing wrong with tough love, as long as the love is unconditional. – George W. Bush

The tougher you are on yourself, the easier life will be on you.

Hardest part of being a parent

The hardest part of being a parent is watching a child go through tough times and not fixing things for them.

There aren’t really many compliments flying around with me and my friends. It’s a lot of tough love. But you know, that love is there and if you need to have a serious conversation, you just gotta wait for the right time to do it. – Mark Wahlberg

There is a difference between “tough love” and being straight mean. Don’t let anyone run away with your happiness.

Tough love and brutal truth from strangers are far more valuable than Band-Aids and half-truths from invested friends, who don’t want to see you suffer any more than you have. – Shannon L. Alder

be stricter with yourself

By being stricter with yourself, you will begin to live life more deliberately, on your terms rather than reacting to life.

Tough love does not mean to be mean. It’s called tough love because accepting the impossibility of changing someone else’s behavior is tough to do. 

Tough love is helping someone see the problem with their actions.

Tough love is just the right phrase: love for the rich and privileged, tough for everyone else. – Noam Chomsky

elbert hubbard quote

Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves. – Elbert Hubbard

Tough love is the habit of self-discipline because getting tough with yourself is actually a very loving gesture. 

Tough love is the hardest to give. – Octavia Spencer

Tough love is what we need to really ask ourselves, ‘What am I even doing?’ 

Tremendous strenght

It takes tremendous strength and resolve to allow your kids to suffer the consequences of their decisions. 

Tough love makes you grow stronger from within. – Asad Meah

Tough love may be tough to give, but it is a necessity of life and assurance of positive growth. – T.F. Hodge

Tough love means being firm but kind while setting boundaries and sticking to them. 

frederick douglass quote

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. – Frederick Douglass

Tough love will either break you or it will make you into the person that you can truly be. – Asad Meah

When we first sort of break in or bust into the house, if you will, there’s some tough love. – Thom Filicia

Words ride on the energy of tone, its warmth or coldness; think of tone as the music of how words are expressed. You want this music to be soulful, whether you’re giving sweet talk or tough love. – James Cook

asad meah quote

In a world that has gone soft, tough love is a necessity. – Asad Meah

You must show tough love to yourself so that you get to the next level. – Asad Meah

You said you wanted the truth. Now what are you willing to do with it? – Monika Zands

Your job as a parent is to listen. And to dole out as much love as you can. That includes tough love. – Christie Brinkley

Strong relationship quote

A strong relationship requires choosing to love each other even in those moments when you struggle to like each other.

Tough love builds character

It takes tough love to order kids to step away from the iPhone or iPad during dinner or to take the devices away if they’re interrupting and interfering with everyone else’s pleasure at a movie, concert or other public event. – Regina Brett

I’m a disciplinarian. I’m the tough love pet owner. I believe in very well-behaved animals. – Jamie Lee Curtis