Why Kids Need Mean Moms

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If you’re like most moms, you’ve either already seen the new movie out called “Mean Moms”, or you’ve probably seen the trailers. It’s about a group of moms who have had enough with the demands of motherhood and decide to “go on strike” and become a little bit rebellious in the process. Not something we haven’t all thought of at one time or another, right? Because being a mom is hard work, and sometimes a very thankless job. Most of us don’t want to be the “mean mom” though, at least the kind that’s abusive, neglectful and belittling. We’re not talking about that kind of “mean”, obviously. But studies are showing that moms can definitely “up” the discipline factor, and in fact, being a little more “mean” with our kids can actually help them be more successful in life.

Which is great news, because this morning, my kids and I were in a rush to drop the three of them off to school when this conversation happened.

“Did you girls pack a lunch?” Nope.  

“Do you have lunch money?” Nope. We ran out and forgot to tell you.

Now, the nice mom in me quickly flirted with the idea of running home to get them some cash, or something to take for lunch, but then I thought nope. They are perfectly capable teenage girls, who need to learn to take responsibility for themselves, so today they will have no lunch, and tomorrow they will be better prepared because they’ll remember the discomfort of being hungry!

Sometimes it’s hard making those kinds of decisions, because it’s our natural instinct to take care of our kids and keep them comfortable and happy. But sometimes I have to remind myself that I am not raising children, I am raising adults. One day (and too soon for my liking) these kids of mine are going to be out in the world taking care of themselves, and hopefully being good people in the process. Coddling them, and doing things for them that they are capable of doing themselves won’t help them become the responsible adults they need to be.

One study done by the University of Essex showed that girls who have mothers who “nag” them, (or in other words regularly “remind” them of things they can be doing better) were more likely to go to college, get better-paying jobs, and avoid teen pregnancy than those with mothers who were more relaxed.

The study, led by researcher Ericka Rascon-Ramirez, followed the lives of over 15,000 girls between the ages of 13 and 14 from 2004 to 2010. Researchers found that high parental expectations played a role in some of the girls’ major life choices.

The study also found that even when it seems our children are not listening (which never happens, of course) our words and “persistent encouragement” do seep into their brains, and cause them to think twice when faced with important life decisions.

So keep nagging, moms! We can be loving and kind, but also unleash our “mean streak” once in a while, that not only shows our children we mean business, but that we have high expectations of them not because we’re unrealistic, but because we know how awesome they are!!

Are you a “mean mom”? We’d love to hear from you!

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