I'm a mean old lady.
At least, that's what I tell my kids every time that they start to whine. Really, my theory is start out mean and strict and tough, and eventually you'll be able to loosen up and have fun. But the meaner you are on a regular basis, the more fun the fun times are. I mean, I don't run a boot camp here, but I do expect and demand good behavior from my children and I'm a pretty firm disciplinarian when disrespect, direct disobedience, or violence (towards me, each other, or an animal) comes into play. Other things can be dealt with through natural consequences, but those things warrant immediate action. I also am not afraid to tell my kids no. I know many moms that will go out of their way to find a way of nicely saying no, and there are things that I don't outright say no about (like buying something the kids want ... my answer is always "maybe later"), BUT I also try to be realistic and sometimes the answer is simply no.
All that being said, there can be some whining and crying whenever discipline occurs or the word no is uttered in my house. My response is usually "I know, I know. I'm a mean old lady. And I don't care. The answer is still no." To which a sobbing child usually mutters something about me not being mean (although you can tell that they don't mean it) (and I notice that they never contradict the old part). I chuckle, say it's ok, I know I'm mean, and then find something else to do while they calm down. They also adamantly deny that I'm mean when I'm relating a story of their adventures and when I said that I was a mean mommy and made them stop. I have suspected for a while that this is simply a way of buttering me up.... Perhaps it's a little psychology with the idea that if they tell me I'm not mean often enough maybe I'll start to act like I'm not mean.
Two days ago I was putting Kairi in bed. I don't remember what all our nighttime conversation entailed but I do know that by the end of it she was very happy. She jumped up and gave me a huge hug and a kiss and then while squeezing me tight a second time she exclaimed:
"You're so nice Mommy! I love you! And I thought you were MEAN!"
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