I’m a Mean Mommy

It’s true, according to my kids. And looking through their eyes, I have to agree. But what they see as “mean” is really me trying to gain respect and control of my childrens’ behavior, though I’m not as successful as I’d like to be.

My goal is to be firm, but it comes out harsh. Not the best way to change their hearts and get them to do things my way, but it’s so easy to resort to old habits.

Thankfully, God sends little reminders to help me in this area. This came in my inbox the other morning.

Be Firm Without Being Harsh
“Some parents believe that the only way to be firm is to be harsh. Firmness says that a boundary is secure and won’t be crossed without a consequence. Harshness uses angry words and increased volume to make children believe that parents mean what they say. Some parents have assumed that firmness and harshness must go together. One mom said, ‘The thought of separating the two is like listening to a foreign language ”it sounds nice but doesn’t make any sense.'”*

Unfortunately, I am a product of my upbringing, and I’m afraid I’m creating little MEs in the process. Kids who are loud and yell to be heard. I don’t want to be harsh. I want to be firm, but loving. Yet, three of my four kids are strong-willed and like to challenge authority. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to teach them to honor and respect each other. It probably begins by modeling that behavior myself.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4

I want to change my harsh ways, but I know I can’t do it on my own strength. I need to remember more to call on God when I feel the harshness coming on me.

*This parenting tip is taken from the book, “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids.”

5 Responses to I’m a Mean Mommy
  1. Melissa P.
    July 31, 2010 | 6:03 am

    I a Christian mommy of a strong-willed child myself so I completely understand what you mean. It seems that when I try to be firm with a strong tone my child does not hear. It is only when I raise my voice in all seriousness that he actual hears. He is definitely one who is always up for a challenge but while he challenging authority at home he does not challenge authority in school. I will say that as he has grown he has gotten much better but he still has his moments. Thanks for the post. I blew up the verse onto an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and I’m going to hang it on the fridge as a reminder to both my son and I. Maybe the reminder of what Gods word says and what the Lord wants from us will help us in this area. Thanks again. : )

  2. S Club Mama
    July 31, 2010 | 7:49 am

    I am a product of how I was raised too. Yelling and yelling and yelling. 🙂 I’m working on it, too. Only through God’s help and grace.

  3. CaroleM
    July 31, 2010 | 9:05 am

    You know, I struggle with this myself. I want our children to respect us, but I don’t want to be screaming all the time at them. I often wonder how do I raise respectful children in a gentle manner.

  4. Tara
    August 3, 2010 | 9:29 am

    Hey I struggle with this continually…but everso often i lay it all at God’s feet(i should do it everyday lol!)but coast till I can not take it anymore,after I feel, in check and more focused on what matters..I am so enjoying this website…and try to read it every ,morning… I am wondering how one can define “honor” when it comes to my own parents and how to instill this into my childern…Thank you and keep up the great work!!!

  5. Gina
    August 23, 2010 | 9:44 am

    Why can’t parenting be easier? I’m sure that’s what God thinks when he looks at us and our disobedience and rebellion against his authority! SIGH! But if we…I…look to the Lord for answers, it does lessen the load!