"You are the meanest mom ever!" If you haven't yet heard this, there's a pretty good chance you will at some point in your lifetime. It's difficult to keep your children happy 100 percent of the time, and it's no secret that kids sometimes want what's not good for them. As a parent, it's your job to try to keep your little ones safe, healthy, and make sure that they aren't growing up to be entitled little boogers. There are definitely going to be times when you do things that make your kid think you're mean.
Let's face it, it's really no fun to be the enforcer of rules. It's much easier to say "yes" to everything, and come across as the good guy. But, that comes at the expense of your child's future. Being a parent is about teaching your child how to grow up to be a good and productive person in this world. Sometimes, that means putting your foot down and not the favorite parent for a moment. The good news is that most kids will eventually realize you were right, even if it isn't until they have kids of their own.
Here are some of the ways your good parenting makes your kid think you're the absolute meanest.
1. You Make Them Do Chores
Nobody likes doing chores, kid. Not even your mom. Assigning your kids chores may make them think that you're the meanest parent ever, but according to the Center For Parenting Education, children who do chores will have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, are better able to deal with frustration, can handle delayed gratification, and have greater success in school. Doing chores is also another way of teaching your child to pitch in. Your family is a team, and everyone needs to do their part.
2. You Tell Them It's Homework Time
Your kid can't exactly blame you for homework (unless you homeschool, and then technically it's all homework.) They might not like having a designated homework time, but getting them in the habit of doing their homework at the same time each afternoon will help them develop good study habits that can last through high school and beyond. Care.com suggested that doing homework right after school can help kids better understand the problems and recall the lesson from the day. Homework right after school can also instill a sense of accomplishment and relief knowing that the rest of the night ahead is clear.
3. You Call Out For Bed Time
A set bed time may not be fun for your kid, but it's certainly necessary, especially on school nights. Children who have irregular bed times are more likely to have behavioral issues than kids who go to bed at the same time each night, according to NPR. Kids who stay up late often exhibit signs of hyperactivity, acting out, and being emotionally withdrawn.
4. You Limit Screen Time
The world revolves around screens, and it's no surprise that kids are exposed to media just about everywhere they go, from school to the library, to the dentist's office. Kids may not understand it, but limiting the amount of screen time that they're exposed to is important, especially if it's poor quality media. According to the Mayo Clinic, this type of screen time has been linked to obesity, irregular sleep schedules, behavioral problems, loss of social skills, and violence.
5. You Say 'No'
Parents hate to say "no" to their kids, but it's often necessary. Kids sometimes ask for things that are not feasible, are dangerous, or you simply don't feel comfortable agreeing to. I'm currently the reigning Meanest Mom Of Sleepovers. We don't do friend sleepovers in our family. It's something my husband and I agreed to early on, and our kids haven't yet given us a good enough reason to change our minds.
According to Scholastic Parent & Child, disappointment can actually build self-esteem in a child. It helps them develop a sense of resourcefulness. Kids learn to ask for the same things in different ways – which, admittedly, can be super annoying – but it teaches your child determination and patience.
6. You Serve Healthy Food
Your kids probably think you're the worst when you make them finish their veggies and drink water instead of soda. Little do they know that those healthy dinners are just as hard for us parents as they are for them. Picking up fast food on the way home after a long day at work is way easier than coming home and making a healthy meal from scratch, but as a parent you do it because you care. It may not be soon, but one day your kid will thank you for worrying about their health.
7. You Issue Consequences For Their Actions
One of the hardest, but most important things a parent can do is follow through with consequences. According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), children whose parents follow through with consequences are less likely to repeat the undesirable behavior in the future. Not enforcing consequences can teach your child that negative actions will be overlooked, and can lead to even worse behavior in the future.