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Being Mean Is The Nicest Thing You Can Do For Your Kids

Wear the word 'mean' like a badge of honour.

05/11/2016 6:18 AM AEDT | Updated 05/11/2016 6:20 AM AEDT
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Colin Hawkins
If you ask your kids to help around the house, you're mean.

Do you fit the mean, strict and awful definition of mum? There's a new hierarchy of parenting meanness and it mainly concerns mothers.

Not so long ago, a mother was considered mean if she was critical of her kids, if her discipline was heavy-handed, or if she played favourites with her kids. But that definition has changed. Now a mum is mean if she expects kids to get themselves up in the morning, make their own snacks or empty their own school bags. How mean is that?!

And strictness has changed. A mum was thought to be strict if she didn't allow young children to visit a friend, a teenager to go to a party, or expected everyone to be at the meal table on time. A mum was strict if she had high expectations for her children's behaviour and wouldn't tolerate their rudeness or selfishness.

Now a mum is strict if she expects her children to look after each other at home; to cook a meal for the family or to help a parent out at work... without being paid. How strict is that?!

And 'awful' was a derogatory term used for a mum who neglected her children's basic rights for food, housing and safety. Now a mum is awful if she lets her kids go to school without lunch; if they don't do their child's homework when they struggle or they let kids go outside in winter without wearing a jumper. How awful!

Mean, strict and awful were once terms a parent avoided like the plague. Now, due to significant societal shifts in parenting, these terms no longer hold the same meaning as they once did.

If we don't want kids to grow up with a strong sense of entitlement (see Nick Kyrgios) mums and dads should wear these terms like badges of honour.

Go mean mum if your meanness helps you raise independent kids who can look after themselves.

Go strict mum if your strictness helps you raise socially-connected kids who know how to contribute to their families and schools.

Go awful mum if by being awful you allow kids to struggle and give them the space and opportunity to solve their own problems.

All power to mean, strict and awful mums, as their parenting will help produce a generation of independent problem solvers who know what it takes to succeed at work, in their families and in relationships.

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