To be stern or commanding with someone. Tell Aunt Margie that she needs to be tough with the kids, or else they'll never listen to her.
See also: tough
To become strict or stern and ready to discipline. Thanks for taking care of the kids for me. Remember to get tough if they don't listen to you. I had to start getting tough with the members of my team to get the project back on schedule.
get tough (with someone)
to become firm with someone; to use physical force against someone. The teacher had to get tough with the class because the students were acting badly. I've tried nicely to get you to behave, but it looks like I'll have to get tough and really punish you.