I was the Mean Mum.
At least that is what one my best friends conveyed to her children. She and I had kids the same age, husbands in the same career, same socio-economic bracket, same ADHD issues.
"If you do that again, I'll go make you live with Auntie Diana!" I actually heard her say. I tried early on to talk to my friend. It didn't work. She had excuses. She thought that a good excuse was as valid as a good reason. It isn't.
I believed that my kids should know right from wrong. I believed in corporal punishment, not beating your kids, but not being afraid to slap their tuchus once or twice if the situation seemed to warrant it. I almost never had to, mostly because the knowledge that a spanking might happen was enough of a deterrent.
I believed in doing your homework first thing, very limited TV, no computers or TV's in their bedrooms, bedtimes and bedtime rituals, Play-grounds and bike rides,ALWAYS letting a parent know where you are and No real privacy. It was my house and if I wanted to go into their drawers or look under your bed I would.
My kids had chore lists, allowances and expectations placed on them. They got rewards when they earned them and nothing if they didn't.
They also had both Dad and Mum ALSO living up to expectations, doing chores and teaching every step of the way. We also always let our kids know where we were going. Consistency is a two way street.
My friend had excuses, almost unlimited TV and computer games. At age three, her oldest could wop my oldest at any computer game. She put cola in their baby bottles and let them eat chips at the age of 1. My kids had watered down juice, water or milk. Her kids were always happy. My kids sometimes wished they could have their stuff. They had a 54" TV while ours was a huge old one with a channel changer that had UHF on it.
They lived in a mess that could be on a reality TV show because it was no ones responsibility to clean up. They were constantly ill. They are all overweight. They got poorish grades. They never went on to a full time job or further education. They all still live at home. They are still thinking that they are happy. They all still spend way too much time gaming. It makes me sad for them.
My youngest daughter called today to ask how to make that broccoli, barley casserole thing that she likes. She wants to make it after work for her boyfriend. My middle son and I made up a "Grab and Go" bowl this morning. It's a huge bowl filled with mini apple sauces and apple juices, snack bags of crunchy cereals, clif bars and Preveantia. It sits next to the fruit bowl. He has about 20 minutes between university and work to grab food,change and get out the door.
The lessons never end. The consistency remains consistent. It was ( and still is) a lot of work to do parenting right. I'm glad that I put in the work. They LIKE their Life. They feel pride in their accomplishments. They love their Mean old Mum.
The Pay-Off is AMAZING.
Parenting: Do It Right!