I was told today I was a mean mommy.
Generally my daughter follows directions right away. Maybe I have to tell her twice, but usually I don’t. Today she had dirty fingernails and I sent her up four times before she went to clean them. I told her that if she didn’t clean them her friend could not come to our house tonight. She skipped up stairs quickly.
After her hands were cleaned, I asked her if she wanted me to be a mean mommy. (Stupid question.)
She told me: “You are a mean mommy.”
I said: “How about meaner?”
Of course the conversation and sentiment are ridiculous. No one wants a mean mommy or any other kind of mean relative or friend. Children want structure, correction and kindness.
I am going to go so far as to say children need structure, correction and kindness. It’s possible to do this without being a mean mommy on purpose.
I wasn’t giving her that when I threatened her with not having her friend over. Sadly, a lot of what passes for structure is coercion and that I what I was doing. I didn’t force her to go brush her nails, but I could have, and in my frustration the whole friend-not-coming over was a form of coercion. I believe any threat from, “I’m going to whoop you,” to “I’m going to take away your toys” is not real correction. Those threats are unrelated to the situation and do not make sense. I did not make sense.
I think there is a significant different between kindness and passivity. I had a friend (note the had) who would spank her four year old son for wetting the bed. “How will he know it’s wrong?” was her response when I questioned the response. “How about telling him? And it’s not technically ‘wrong’ anyway?” I thought, but didn’t say. I know she wouldn’t have listened to me because at the time, I was childless. Just like many of you won’t listen to me because I only have one, and she’s a girl, she’s easygoing and a flurry of other reasons I am not qualified to have opinions.