All parents will eventually hear their kid say “You’re so mean!” It’s not always easy to set expectations and enforce boundaries with our children, but being called mean is actually one of the best compliments a mom can get! It’s a sign that we’re requiring our kids to act in ways that will help them grow physically, mentally, and socially. Being too relaxed in our parenting won’t do them any favors when they become adults who don’t understand right from wrong or know how to take care of themselves. We are responsible for these tiny human beings, and sometimes drawing the line can come across as mean…and that’s okay! Here are 4 things that “mean” moms do that help their kids:
Be Firm On Bedtimes
Sleep is one of the most important things that kids need (it’s also one of the things they resist the most). Without adequate sleep, kids get sick, grouchy, and sluggish. Their rapidly developing bodies and brains require a great deal of sleep, so be assertive, ‘mean’ even, and don’t give in to kids begging to stay up late on a regular basis. Some kids are master negotiators, so stay strong!
Make Dessert A Treat, Not An Every Day Occurrence
Unfortunately, too many kids these days feel entitled to get what they want, when they want- dessert being one of them. By having a bowl of ice cream or a few cookies as a special occasion, you can teach them that we sometimes can’t do or eat what we want all the time. Additionally, parents need to be mindful about the health messages they are relaying to their children. We are experiencing an epidemic of obesity, and children are not immune. Let’s help them understand that sugary sweets are “sometimes” foods while promoting a healthy lifestyle.
Require Them To Pay For Some Things
Parents are of course responsible for providing financially for their children’s necessities (food, shelter, clothing), but when it comes to toys or things they want (instead of need), let’s give them the opportunity to learn about money and save up enough to buy it. This gives them a sense of ownership and also helps combat the entitlement culture. Managing one’s finances is a life skill that they can begin to learn early on, so consider what things they can pay for on their own. This not only teaches a valuable life lesson in finances, it also promotes self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment- not to mention, they are much more likely to take care of their possessions they had to pay for!
Don’t Pull Strings
Some parents think they’re doing their child a favor by getting him/her out of a test or in some other way helping them dodge a consequence for a choice made. But doing this only enables them and teaches them that the world should be handed to them. Our kids need to learn the experience of failing or not getting their way. Resist the temptation to always come to the rescue and save them from the effects of their choices. This is how we help our kids learn right from wrong and understand cause and effect.
It’s okay to be a “mean” Mom. We were never meant to be our kids best friend- being a parent is tough work but the payoff will be great. Just remember that our goal is to teach and help our kids become healthy and independent adults one day- so hang on and Enjoy the Journey!