UNITED STATES—We have all heard the phrase ‘tough love,’ but what exactly does that mean? Does it mean being brutally honest, a complete a**, someone that shows little to no compassion? I mean there are plenty of ways to decipher that haunting phrase, but I think a bit of tough love is needed sometimes. Why? Well, it’s a teaching lesson, one that I’ve decided to give to both of my youngest brothers.

First, after years of playing games and finally being forced to ‘man up’ my brother, who happens to be younger than me finally has a consistent job and seems to be on the direct path of understanding that when you have children, you have to take care of them. Now, he’s not happy that he has been placed on child support and is having to owe plenty of money to his children that was not paid in previous years. Yeah, the issue of child support is a contentious one to say the least, and I can easily do 3-4 columns on that topic alone based on my experience growing up, so I’ll defer.

However, I’m a firm believer that if someone is willing to help themselves I don’t have a problem assisting them from time to time. At the same time, it should not become a habit. Too many people, especially family think when you give them something they don’t have to repay the favor and I honestly hate that with a passion. Yes, you’re family, but at the same time when you borrow money you are expected to pay it back. That’s the key word people, ‘borrow’ you didn’t ask me to give you anything.

So with my brother he has a habit of borrowing money and never paying it back. I made it crystal clear it’s your job to figure things out, but the days of borrowing money from me are over, you can earn something, but I will not frivolously just give because one wants. To be honest, I think I finally pierced through his skull and he understands I truly mean business this time around, no more games people, I mean it.

Now, onto my other brother, where we have a 10 year difference between us! His generation totally baffles me, something about millennials and their constant interpretation that they are owed something for doing nothing drives me crazy. This kids who still lives with his parents does absolutely nothing; no trash, no dishes, no cleaning, he’s good for nothing. He has this ideology that things should always go his way and that if they don’t he’ll act out.

What he fails to realize is that in the real world, no one owes you anything. If someone chooses to do something for you that is their choice, but also if they decide to tell you ‘NO,’ accept it and move along. My parents are finally teaching a bit of tough love to this spoiled bratty kid. They no longer feed him, they no longer cloth him, they no longer ensure he has washing powder for his clothes. At this point the only thing, they provide is a roof over his head. Everything else is up to him.

And the results are fascinating in my opinion. I mean this kid thought his parents were going to pay his car note and his insurance; this is someone who has gotten 13 tickets in probably the last 2-3 years. Most from running stop signs, the biggest no-no in the driving world! It’s unfortunate, but he is finally learning that when you say you’re an adult people will indeed begin to treat you that way, rather you want it or not. Hmm, those millennials so quick to age, but are certainly learning it’s wise to stay a kid while you can.

When it comes to tough love, there has to be a bit of a balance. Show a bit of compassion, but at the same time, you gotta stay firm. If you bend the slightest bit, that will be used against you. However, in the long run it teaches people a valuable lesson, in the end the only person stopping you from reaching your goals are you.