For Your Own Good

"We only buy into what we can sell
We only want to protect you from yourself"
— "Control" by MDFMK

All too often, when someone is forced to do something they don't want to do, they will be told, "It's for your own good!" This will usually be said by a parent. Other variations may include "We're doing this because we love you" or "We're doing this because we care". Often Truth in Television.

It can also be used by someone (usually an adult) justifying why they did something to someone (usually a child), especially when the child thinks it was wrong. Of course, the child is almost always right.

In some works this might be Played for Laughs during an intervention. Compare Tough Love and Cruel to Be Kind, which happens with something undesirable that really is for the person's own good. If the helpers are overbearing, a nuisance, or downright harmful in their attempts to render assistance, expect to hear complaints about Unwanted Assistance. It may also be Played for Drama, as in cases of Honor-Related Abuse, or Financial Abuse.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • A whole lot of abusive parents in manga and anime eventually break down sobbing and explaining that it was all, in some brain-twisty way, for the child's own good and they actually care. They are almost without exception immediately forgiven. Even when what they did was hideous and illogical and ineffective and the kid will clearly be dealing with it for the rest of his or her life.
    • If they don't cry, the chance of this (forgiveness) is much lower. See [[Charles vi Britannia of Code Geass for a detailed example.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist anime, this is basically Hohenheim's excuse for leaving his family: because of his immortality, his body is slowly rotting away and he didn't want his family finding out. There's also the matter of Dante and the Homonculi keeping tabs on him.

     Comic Books 
  • This was a common explanation in the Silver Age for why the good guys had spent the whole issue behaving like jerks to their Love Interests / Sidekicks / Mentors. The person in question would always accept this without complaint and things would go right back to normal. It is one of the main excuses for Superman being a dick.

     Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is why Megan's parents send her to a "straight camp" in But I'm a Cheerleader.
  • In Cool Hand Luke, when the title character is captured after his first escape attempt and fit into chains before the other inmates, the Captain loudly informs Luke, and the prison at large, how the chains will remind him not to try and escape, ending with "For yer own good." Luke dryly replies "I wish you'd stop being so good to me, Captain."
  • In Heavenly Creatures, Juliet has been repeatedly abandoned by her parents or taken from places and people she loves "for the good of her health." At one point she snaps "They sent me to the Bahamas for the good of my health. They sent me to the Bay of bloody Islands for the good of my health!" Finally, when she is told she's to be separated from her heart's companion Pauline and sent to South Africa with relatives "for the good of your health", she lets out a bloodcurdling scream.
  • V for Vendetta (film version): Norsefire's Secret Police, the Fingermen, regularly arrest non-caucasians, dissenters and homosexuals, and send them to internment camps or execution...and all of their vans have "For Your Protection" written on the back.

     Literature 
  • The only really valid reason for Harry's return to his ridiculously unfit guardians every summer was that pesky blood-protection bit Dumbledore thought so much of. 'Twas for his own good, but only in the most basic-survival sort of way.
    • Dumbledore also points out a couple times that it was rather useful in stopping Harry from becoming full of himself due to being exposed to fame at a too early age. Whether it was worth the abuse he got instead is up for debate...
    • Hermione also uttered some variant of this when Harry and Ron demanded to know why she turned the Firebolt over to McGonagall for stripping.
  • In Twilight, a rather large portion of Edward's actions are for what he considers Bella's own good, whether or not she agrees—though she usually does. These actions include following her without her consent, breaking into her room every night to watch her, forcing her to flee Forks when James hunts her, leaving her in New Moon because she might be killed if she stays with him, stealing her car engine so she can't visit Jacob, etc. The list goes on, right to the end of the series.

     Live Action Television 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Spare That Rod!", Principal Osgood Conklin's rationale for his strict discipline policy (read dictatorial) at Madison High School. Well, it's either that, or he just likes making everybody miserable!

     Music 
  • An indirect version in the song Sooner or Later: "We only want what's best for you, that's why we tell you what to do."
  • MDFMK song "Control" mentions this among the rest of dystopian features.
  • Will Smith's theme from Men in Black uses this:
    'Cause if we ever show up in your section/Believe me, it's for your own protection.

     Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin's father in Calvin and Hobbes often tells his precocious son that various unpleasant activities "build character".
    • "Pretty convenient how every time I build character, he saves a couple hundred bucks."

     Professional Wrestling 
  • The whole in-character idea behind WWE's Right To Censor stable, even invoked by name by the leader, Steven Richards. Out of character, it was a pretty blatant Take That against the Parents Television Council.
  • Valentina was left alone in SCW before and TNA after but discouraged from joining Women's Extreme Wrestling by her sister, Alexis Laree, on the grounds it was a racy garbage wrestling fed (yes, even more so than early TNA)
  • In 2007, Hornswoggle won a battle royal to become WWE Cruiserweight Champion. A week later, GM Vickie Guerrero told him that as a champion AND as Vince McMahon's illegitimate son, he'd be a target of the other wrestlers and she'd hate for anything bad to happen to him, so for his own safety, she stripped him of the title.
  • Roderick Strong's reasoning for antagonizing Cedric Alexander, and Decade attacking the C&C Wrestle Factory, saying he was only doing for him what they established Ring of Honor veterans did for Strong and the rest of Generation Next.
  • Madison Rayne advised Brittany to stop trying to help in her feud against The Beautiful People insisting that only years of dealing with them could make someone ready and that kind of prolonged exposure to them would not be worth it. Rayne took an even harder stance on the issue after Angelina Love and Velvet Sky gave Brittany a concussion.
  • This was the explanation Silas Young gave for attacking ACH at the 2016 War Of The Worlds. He was trying to be helpful, to teach ACH the lessons his father had failed to.

     Tabletop Games 
  • A near-catchphrase of the Tau Empire in Warhammer 40,000, along with For The Greater Good, to justify all sorts of things. The thing to bear in mind is that they mean it — their belief in acting on The Needs of the Many is absolute and they would much rather be your friends, but if you're going to force the situation to be hostile... what else can they do?
    • The Imperial Guard actually have a rule called "For Your Own Good", where a Psyker that comes under psychic assault while using their powers is summarily killed as a precaution if a Commissar is in the squad.
  • In Mystara when the Alphatian point of view is voiced, they are resentful over the lack of appreciation Thyatian "barbarians" show for conquering and enslaving, er, patronizing and "educating" them in general, and over "perverting our teachings" (not becoming The Magocracy too after they kicked Alphatians out) in particular.

     Video Games 
  • Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic II has an unfortunate habit of setting large and unpleasant threats on your party in order to toughen you up.
  • David Sarif from Deus Ex: Human Revolution gave Adam all of his augments without his consent, at the cost of removing stuff that didn't even need to be removed. But given Sarif's views on Augmentation and how much he sees it as a benefit to anybody, he genuinely sees what he did as a favor more than anything else.
  • Toriel in Undertale wants to keep the player character from leaving the ruins for this exact reason, even going far enough to attack you if you insist on leaving anyways. Her concern is 100% sincere, since she wants to protect the player from the same fate as the other humans who left. She makes the player fight to prove he can survive out there, and makes her attacks avoid the player if his health drops too low.

     Web Comics 

     Western Animation 
  • In the DuckTales episode "Dough Ray Me", this is Scrooge's rationale for not advancing Huey, Dewey or Louie their allowance - or giving Fenton Crackshell a raise. Scrooge claims that, if he gives them more money, they'll take money for granted, spend it foolishly, and end up homeless and begging on the street corner!
  • In the original The Transformers cartoon, Omega Supreme tries to undo the brainwashing done to his enemy, Devastator, using this phrase in the process. Devastator throws the phrase back into his face during a later fight.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph Beifong's parents quote the trope name word for word as justification for their decision to lock her up, ostensibly to protect her. This is directly after Toph beat up an arena full of large, earthbending men right in front of her dad. You'd think they'd get the idea that their daughter is more than capable of protecting herself...
  • At the end of one episode, Robotboy says to the boy that takes care of him something like "Tommy does not love Robotboy. He does not shout at him." Tommy laughs.

     Real Life 
  • Dr. Alice Miller's book on cruelty in the name of discipline is called At the Beginning of Education in the original German, but is known as For Your Own Good in its English translation.
  • Those camps/facilities for "Troubled teens"!! Seriously, any parent/guardian who sends their children to these places, deserve their parent/guardian rights to be taken away from them... just read this cracked article, to find out the horror some teens have to go thorugh.
  • For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women, by Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, talks about American medical, psychological, and childbearing "help" and advice that did great harm to women although the experts insisted it was meant for their own good. (Such as clitoridectomy, to name just one unfortunate idea. Don't let anyone tell you this doesn't happen in the U.S.)
  • "Chief, don't you be my benefactor" was an old adage in Soviet prisons. Lev Gumilev — who was there in Stalin's era — used more than one opportunity to quote it in the context of politics in his history books.
  • As is already mentioned here about But I'm a Cheerleader, many parents take their homo/bi/pansexual and/or transgender children to "straight camps" or other places (such as private clinics or hospitals) to cure them of their "homosexual feelings" for this reason.
    • Similar to the "applied behavioral analysis" treatment methods used to "cure" autism. It fails to cure autism but is highly successful at inducing post-traumatic stress disorder.
      • A time was when this would also be used to "cure" that debilitating ailment of sinistrality (aka left-handedness)
  • European imperialism was justified by this trope, particularly during the Victorian era. Many Europeans saw themselves as having a sacred "duty" to bring "civilization" to all of the savage and barbaric heathens of the rest of the world, whether they wanted it or not. Other races, especially in North America and Africa, were seen as overgrown children who needed to be taught the "proper" way to live.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ForYourOwnGood