Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run.
In most uses, there must be some actual love or feeling of affection behind the harsh or stern treatment to be defined as tough love. For example, genuinely concerned parents refusing to support their drug-addicted child financially until he or she enters drug rehabilitation would be said to be practicing tough love. A coach who trains his players hard and is strict, but likes his players could also be said to be practicing tough love.
"Tough love" boot camps for teenagers have been described as 'child abuse', and the NIH noted that "get tough treatments do not work and there is some evidence that they may make the problem worse".
There is evidence to suggest that tough love can be beneficial in the development of preferred character trait in children up to five years old.