I am the meanest dad in the world.
Don’t believe me? Just ask my kids. They will tell you.
My kids had an amazing opportunity recently. A professional basketball player from our favorite team came to town. He came to do basketball drills with the children in my city. What an amazing opportunity!
Well, we planned to go and take our kiddos. And we did!
But, we didn’t make it to the end of the event. That’s right. We left. Our kiddos displayed behavior that was not acceptable to us. We will not allow that to happen, so we came home.
Our children were tired. They were showing that through their behavior. They weren’t handling the ‘craziness’ of the activity. We needed to intervene and provide for their needs. They all came home and took naps or had quiet time. They didn’t like it (hence my moniker, “the Meanest Dad in the World”), but it was the appropriate response and they were much better behaved afterwards.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve been called “The Meanest Dad in the World.”
One of my children missed a birthday party. This particular child had a chore. Her bedroom was supposed to be clean. This is a task that she is one hundred percent capable of. This is a task that she had accomplished successfully before. She knew the expectation. She also knew the consequence. The birthday party was a lunch party. She spent hours in her room! Mommy Crusader and I fully expected that her room would be clean. We then went to inspect her room. It was glaringly obvious that what had happened was the opposite of what was supposed to happen. She also seemed to think that it wouldn’t matter. She wouldn’t have to do it, because she was going to spend several hours at a birthday party.
She went to the birthday party. She knocked on the door. She delivered her present that she had bought for the birthday child. She then explained why she couldn’t stay. And we drove home. With her. She spent the next several hours cleaning her room, instead of partying. This was the appropriate response. She didn’t complete the required expectation because she thought she would get out of it. She would be at a party. Instead, she lost the party, and gained the opportunity to help the family and correct her mistake.
There are other times that I’ve received this moniker from my children, but these two experiences are sufficient for this post.
As a father trying to raise awesome kiddos, I can’t allow them to be less than awesome.
Now, I know that kids will be kids. I have a degree in Elementary Education. I took lessons in child development and child psychology in college. I know what children are capable of. And, sometimes, kids will act below their level of maturity. And that is when I need to step in and be a parent. Call me a “mean dad” if you want, but I call it being a parent.
Now, what does this mean to you, my beloved reader?
I give you permission to be a ‘mean parent.’
Now, I don’t mean for you to be abusive, far from it. I want you to raise awesome kids. I want you to set reasonable expectations for your kids. I want you to be sure that your kids understand your expectations. I want you to hold your kids up to these expectations. If that means they lose privileges because their behavior isn’t awesome, that is okay. If that means that you are a ‘mean parent’, so be it.
Action Steps to be a ‘Mean Parent’
– Set reasonable and appropriate expectations.
– Set reasonable and appropriate consequences.
– Know your children, know what they are capable of, and know their limitations.
– Follow through. If a child does NOT meet an expectation, follow through with an appropriate consequence.
– Pay attention to your child’s physical and emotional needs. Is their behavior an indicator that they are needing something else?
I know that as a parent, sometimes we want to be ‘friends’ with our children. We want them to ‘like’ us. These are great things, but first, and foremost, we need to be parents and we need to teach our kiddos to be awesome. Because, they are awesome! If that means that I have to be a “mean dad”, then I will be the “mean dad”. If that means that you need to be a “mean parent”, then be the “mean parent”. This shows children that they are capable of meeting our expectations. It shows that we love them enough to hold them accountable for their behavior.
I want to reiterate that being a “mean parent” does not mean being an abusive parent. These are very different things. My definition of “mean parent” is a title that is given to me by my children when I am holding them accountable for decisions that they have made or if I am providing for their needs when they don’t want me to.
Please, join me in my quest to raise awesome kids. Let’s all be “mean parents” and make sure our kiddos know that we know they are capable of being awesome. Because they are!