Are you a mean mom?

“I can not go? You’re the meanest mom ever! When you hear that exclamation, (in addition to the sound of a slamming door), do you clutch your heart with guilt? Do you wonder what you did wrong to fail so miserably as a parent? If so, pay close attention to what I am going to say. According to a renowned, respected researcher, should you are feeling guilty about incidents such as this, you’ve failed your child. According to the researcher, a successful mother is a Mean Mom. Now, wait a minute, you might object. He did not say that, did he?

The researcher, Abraham Maslow, introduced a concept in 1943 at a paper called A Theory of Human Motivation. He identified a hierarchy of human needs that have to be fulfilled, in sequential order, to reach full maturity, or what he termed self-actualization. This theory was accepted and adopted around the world and has earned him the name Father of Humanistic Psychology.

The hierarchy is composed of five levels. If we aren’t provided the critical needs of each level, we can’t progress effectively to another one, thus interrupting the process of becoming a fully mature adult.

Safety – security

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Self-esteem – confidence and value

Self-actualization – ability to find your passion

Wait, not one of these levels says to be a Mean Mom. Really, one does. Can you guess which one? If you guessed Safety, you’re correct. What’s security to a child? A child feels safe when sure the adults depended on to keep them from injury will be there always and unfailingly, regardless of what the conditions.

As a child develops, safety is provided in different ways. For infants it’s being warm, comfortable and attended to. For toddlers, it’s protection as they learn to explore their world. For pre-schoolers, it means to begin to understand boundaries as they learn social skills.

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School-age children feel secure when assured that house will be a non-changing constant in the face of many new adventures as they separate themselves for the first time from family. Teen-agers feel secure when they know that whatever personalities they attempt on won’t fool their parents, and that their parents will keep them safe from experiences they believe that they are ready for, but are not.

When the boundaries are being tested, each and every time without fail. Testing the bounds is their way of checking to see if the safety net remains in place. Every time you back down, the boundaries will be tested again. Being a Mean Mom requires staying consistent, even if you are the only parent on the block who’s. Being a Mean Mom provides the safety and security your children will need to progress to maturity.

How will you know if you’re successful? Your children will let you know. When my son was 3 years old, a friend asked why he loves his mom. His response was, “Because she feeds me good food.” When he was in junior high school, a friend asked him to do something against house rules. The friend’s mother overheard him reply, “No way, man. You can’t eliminate anything with my mom.”

His response was that the friend didn’t have a curfew. What came out of his mouth was my affirmation I was a prosperous mean mom. He said, “I guess his mother does not care about him.” As a mom, that was among the most gorgeous things I’ve ever heard. He got it! So, yes, according to Maslow, a successful mom is a Mean Mom. But it’s not straightforward. Do you have what it takes?

The writer, Maureen LoBue, M.Ed., has united both personal and professional experience to make Mean Mother’s Club: The Mother’s Rule Book. The purpose is to provide a common sense, ready to use reference for busy moms who need to learn the way to be in control of any situation at this time. The seven rules outlined in the book prepare moms to deal with situations at different ages for different kids, using their own parenting style. They help you to understand why your kids are doing what they do and help you to plan ahead for the best way to handle it when they do.