Comments about ‘How (and why) to be the meanest mom in the world’

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Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12 2013 1:30 p.m. MST

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Canada, 00

I had "mean" parents in a house that was filled with rules, boundaries, curfews, expectations, and discipline. They were the parents who would show up at a party we snuck off to and drag us out. They disciplined us, took away privileges and were more than clear with what they expected and the consequences of direct disobedience. It was also a house filled with love, humor, laughter, understanding, honesty and joy. They cheered us on, confided in us, kept our confidences, told us they were proud of us, admitted their own mistakes and told us they loved us every day. They trusted us until we gave them a reason not to, and then once they expressed disappointment they gave us the opportunity to earn that trust back. They were not our "friends". I learned how to fail, how to succeed, and how to do both gracefully. I am ever thankful for the "mean" parents who raised me to be respectful, hard working, honest and compassionate. I can't thank them enough for the way that they raised me and you better believe I'm going to be striving to raise my kids the same way.

Peterborough, 00

Why are so many offended by the word "make"? They are your CHILDREN. YOU are a parent. Not their best friend, uncle, aunt, grandparent, etc. P-A-R-E-N-T. "Asking" them to do things insinuates that they have the power. "Telling" them makes it clear that you are a parent, and avoids the problems mentioned here. Like temper tantrums, refusing to eat supper, don't want to go to school. They understand that they can come to you, but they also understand that you are an authority figure, and not a peer to be manipulated. Children are not evil, nor are they driven by good. They are children and do not see the differences. The assumption made in that situation is that your children are children, that they WILL make mistakes, and that you are the correcter of their errors, and the praiser of their successes. This idea that children know everything and need to be left with adult decisions and responsibilities is just as abusive from where I sit as hitting them with a belt several times a day. Children need to be children, or they become joyless adults.


A wise man once told me Love=Doing what's RIGHT and BEST for someone else. This article should really be titled "How to Love your kids". I have fallen short many times...but am finding that many parents today when given a choice...choose friendship with their child over parenthood. Our kids are dying...literally. Something needs to change.

Glendale, AZ

It is apparent that there are some people who just can't take a good article for what it's worth. Some of the comments about "abuse" and the words "mean," "make," and "mom" and all other things that some take offense at--I just roll my eyes.

Newton, KS

This article makes me sad. So often parents believe they have a right to be totalitarian just because they are the parent. People dismiss that a child is just a tiny adult with feelings, emotions, and opinions. These type of parents rush their children, label their communication of emotion as a tantrum, and ignore their cries for help. If all parents would only take the time to try see the situation from their child's perspective

Newton, KS

The "tantrum" over a cookie at the grocery store may be that the child has been out shopping all day with mom. The child is tired, can sense the stress from mom (because she's tired too), and is hungry. By yelling at this child to stop crying you aren't just being mean (I wouldn't want anybody to treat me this way) you are telling the child that you don't care what they have to say and that you don't care about the way they feel. Often children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes. Yet we as adults have them all the time! None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection then us as adults can attain.

Newton, KS

The fight over bedtime may be that the child just isn't tired yet or maybe wants just a few extra moments with the parent. We can not train our child not to need us whether it's in the middle of the day or the middle of the night. Their needs are real and valid, including the simple need of a humans touch. A "trained" child may give up on their needs being met, but the need is still there, just not the trust. I'm sure glad the Lord doesn't put me to bed and let me cry myself to sleep so that He can have some "me" time. Our children will learn soon enough that the world is full of mean, unfair, and firm words. Why not give our children a kind, fair, and gentle foundation? In return we may just get a kinder, fairer, gentler world.

tulsa, OK

Two words -- love and limits. do these and you will be a great parent and your child will value your guidance....someday!

tulsa, OK

Two words for young parents -- Love and limits. Your child will appreciate your guidance one day when you have consistently used both in good supply. Spend time with your child. Don't put them in front of a monitor or tv. My son didn't have a tv in his bedroom until he purchased one his junior year of high school using money he'd earned himself.

Amarillo, TX

I think this article is fantastic. It's good, sound advice that my parents gave me and that I've always employed with my kids. Now that they are older and exhibit the character traits that this advice helps to instill, people ask me for advice when they want to know how I "got my kids to be so..." I don't understand all the negative comments. Some of them even bordering on disturbing and absurd.
Thanks to the author for putting out the same advice that so many of us parents have been trying to follow in our desire to raise unselfish, kind, well-mannered, and grateful children!

orem, UT


Don't misinterprete "firm" with "mean" or neglectful. And no one is advocating yelling or disregarding a child's needs.

You are right, we cannot hold our children to a standard adults could not maintain. But do not confuse gentleness with permissiveness. As an elementary school teacher who teaches over 600 kids a year, and as a mom of 5 well-adjusted young adults and teens, the children who have parents that are firm but loving are by far better adjusted and confident than those whose parents run to meet their every need.

The Lord is very firm with us too and sometimes, no matter what we think our needs may be, he does allow us to cry ourselves to sleep. It is not because he is mean or only concerned with his needs but because he knows we need to learn hard lessons sometimes and easing our way won't accomplish that. In recorded scripture the Lord was kind and gentle with those who followed him, but he was also firm and blunt with them. He did not mince words and he set a very high standard - perfection.

Layton, UT

I love how Elder Bednar teaches parents and leaders to "get out of the way" of their children's learning experiences. They need to put their own agency to test without being lectured all the time. He always emphasizes that most parents are more concerned about talking than listening.

Orem, UT

It's unfortunate that so many commenters here and parents everywhere conflate meanness with discipline, which is a mistake the author makes. To be fair, I get that she uses "mean" in quotations, using it tongue-in-cheek, but words do matter and we need to strive for precision in our discourse.

Discipline is not the same thing as abuse, or authoritarianism, or terrorism. Yes, parents need to set boundaries and enforce rules. They need to learn when to say yes AND when to say no, but they shouldn't reflexively say no. Children are not property and parents are not masters. Children should not have to deal with adult issues or responsibilities, but they should have some freedom and sense of self-ownership. Compassion and discipline are NOT mutually exclusive but work best in each other's presence. Parenting is a lot like leadership. Leadership works in two ways: through fear or through inspiration. Both methods produce results, but only inspiration can foster lifelong relationships. (Again, don't conflate operating through fear with maintaining high expectations and allowing consequences to follow bad behavior.)

Orem, UT

I take issue with the millennial bashing. The author said, "The rising generation has been called the laziest, rudest, most entitled kids in history." To whom can we attribute this quote? Ebenezer Scrooge? It's ignorant and untrue.

Each established generation complains about the upcoming one. My grandmother has plenty to say about the baby boomers--you know the folks who run our dysfunctional government and greedy corporations. The very same who benefited from the best education system this world has ever seen because the taxpayers subsidized most of it but now are slashing school funding to the detriment of young people who are struggling with astronomical student debt. On the other hand, with all respect to my beloved grandmother, the "Greatest Generation" isn't unclean either, seeing as how it caused a severe worldwide economic collapse and produced the most destructive war in human history. Our Founding Fathers built us this great nation on the whipped backs of slaves and the bones of an entire civilization.

The point is that no generation can presume to set itself morally above another. Young people have many flaws, as does everyone, but they also promise so much for the world.

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