9 qualities of a “mean” mum

Your kids may well accuse you of being mean but you’re just doing what’s needed to raise decent, considerate humans.

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“You’re the meanest mum ― ever!” Indeed, some children may have an issue with their mothers, and if you’ve clicked on this article, you may even heard these words from your own kids.

That said, most “mean” mums aren’t actually mean they’re just stricter as they have the best of intentions for their children. After all, mothers seat healthy boundaries because they want to raise kids who grow into decent and respectful adults. In fact, if you aren’t a mean mum now and again, maybe you aren’t doing the right thing!

As family counsellor Fiona Maher O’Sullivan of Incontact Counselling and Training Centre, puts it, “Once we are aware of how we operate and are willing to self-reflect on decisions we make, we will be the best parents we can be.”

She adds that being a “mean” mum doesn’t imply that you cannot be gentle with your little one.

“Once we are aware of how we operate and are willing to self-reflect on decisions we make, we will be the best parents we can be.”

Take a look at the list below to see if you can check off any of the boxes.

1. You make them take responsibility for their actions

In life, actions have consequences, and you ensure your child learns this from an early age. So, even for simple things, you make sure your little one cleans up if they do things like leave biscuit crumbs everywhere. It goes the same for more serious matters, like receiving punishment in school. Instead of defending junior, you should let them face the consequences if they are in the wrong.

2. You control their device usage

These days, many kids seem to always be watching something on their parents’ iPads or phones. While these devices can be used for learning and entertainment, kids could stumble on undesirable content while playing games or watching YouTube. They could also get addicted to these devices. So, ensure that your offspring only use these for a certain amount of time, and control what they are watching or playing.

3. You get your child to pay for things he wants

Rather than buying toys for your little one all the time, make sure your child uses their own cash (allowance, etc) now and then. This makes them realise that nothing is free, which should make them value it more.

4. You teach them that the world doesn’t revolve around them

You don’t always need to entertain your child ― even when they throw a tantrum, it’s sometimes best for you to just leave them alone. O’Sullivan explains, “By taking away your attention completely, you won’t reinforce undesirable behavior.”
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5. You get them to help out around the house

Whether it’s folding clothes or wiping the tables, you make it a point to get your young one to help out with some chores as they will learn to contribute at home.

6. You set a bedtime for them

Getting sufficient sleep has a direct correlation to a healthier lifestyle. Even if your mini-me want to stay up just 30 minutes more to finish a movie, you know they need enough rest, so, set a fixed time they must be in bed by.

“Children will always compare ‘like with like’ but once we parent consistently and with open communication, our children will know what to expect.”

7. You don’t follow other parents’ methods

You don’t match your parenting style to that of other parents, even if your child complains that their friend’s parent is more lenient than you are.

Says O’Sullivan, “Children will always compare ‘like with like’ but once we parent consistently and with open communication, our children will know what to expect.”

8. You do what’s best for them, even if they don’t like it

Your child dislikes many things that are good for them, such as eating vegetables (or perhaps any food other than McDonald’s), which results in opposition at mealtimes. However, you insist that they eat a nutritious meal rather than letting them get their way.

9. You make them earn their rewards

You teach your child to work for things. For instance, if junior wants a particular toy, you make a deal that you’ll only buy it if they get a certain grade in their exams.

Photos: iStock

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