It’s ok to be a mean mom!

29/07/2015 by Aruna Kamath

Most kids think their parents are the meanest and most horrible on the face of this earth. Well, I know this for a fact, because my daughters have said it to me several times! Initially, I used to be very upset and distressed over their harsh statements. Many a times, I have cried behind closed doors wondering if it was true. But on comparing notes with other moms, I realized that the scenario was no different in their houses. Nowadays, when I hear them complain about my constant nagging, my repartee has always been “let’s exchange your mom for one of your friend’s mom”. It shuts them up immediately … well, at least for a while!

I have realized that new age moms undergo a lot of parenting turmoil. We’re often guilt-ridden and constantly ruminating on our parenting abilities. In our efforts to groom our children into well-rounded individuals, many a times, we’re compelled to throw in the towel for the fear of being labeled ‘BAD’. But no matter what, don’t give up.  Let them call you horrible names, but they’ll thank you later for it.

Here are a few things you must teach your kids. It’s ok if you’re labeled as a ‘mean mom’ but you’ll be creating good kids later.

The importance of respecting other people’s time: I am a hopeless stickler for time and my kids detest me for this.  I hate to keep other people waiting and don’t like it when people take my time for granted.  Teaching kids the value of time, to respect other people’s time and the significance of being punctual is a priceless trait that will stand them in good stead right through in life.

Make them pay for their stuff – sometime back, my elder daughter demanded for a gadget that was way beyond our budget. Naturally, I denied it outright and she stopped talking to me for a while. We behaved like sworn enemies for a week – ignoring each other’s presence in the house. When things simmered a bit, we struck a deal. I told her we could afford only half the amount. The other half will be her contribution. She agreed, and earned her bit by writing articles for magazines and running errands at home.

I’ve noticed that kids realize the value of money when they’re made to pay the price for the stuff. If he’s not ready to share the price, then probably she doesn’t want it that badly.

Let them learn it the hard way: When you find them struggling over something, don’t step in to help them. Allow them to learn things the hard way and figure out a solution. Accomplishing things on their own, gives them a sense of achievement and greatly boosts their self-confidence.

Good manners matter: The other day when we were at a restaurant, I was shocked to see a small child demanding for a glass of water – rather rudely.  What was even more shocking was that his parents, who were witness to this behavior, didn’t bother to correct the child! It’s easy to  imagine what the child will grow to be!

Even a small child can be taught how to treat another human beings with respect and kindness- whether it’s your maid, driver or security guard. Don’t we all know that it’s easier to get things done with a little bit of politeness rather than with arrogance?

Demand apologies: If your child does something wrong, make sure you demand an apology. Let them know that dishonesty or rudeness is totally unacceptable and that they have to face the consequences. Similarly, make sure, you do the same when you mess up. Set an example by owning up and saying sorry.

Their loss is your gain: My daughter used to lose her pen very often in school. Only after I refused to replace her pen, she learnt to take care of it.

Let your children learn the value of things. Let them feel the loss.  Only then will they learn to  be responsible.

Hard work never killed anyone: It’s ok to make your children wash the dishes, fold the clothes or wipe the dining table. Letting them to do chores around the house won’t hurt them in anyway. You may hear cries of complaints or grumbling, but don’t heed to any of this.  It will teach them the dignity of labour as well as prepare them to be independent and responsible adults.

Let them learn it the hard way: When you find them struggling over something, don’t step in to help out. Allow them to learn things the hard way and figure out a solution. Accomplishing things on their own, gives them a sense of achievement and greatly boosts their self-confidence.

Learn to say ‘no’: Kids face a lot of peer pressure. They’re constantly comparing themselves to their mates and demanding things that their friends own. Put your foot down and learn to say a firm ‘no’. Teach your kids to be grateful for – and satisfied with – the things they have.

But in the midst of all this, don’t let the mean mom garb shroud the good side of you.  Express your love as often as you can. And don’t forget to reward or praise their good behavior. Believe me, it makes a world of difference!

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