No matter how much we love our kids, we can’t deny that sometimes they act like ungrateful little beasts. They push us to our limits, and that’s when Mean Mommy takes charge.
We really need to share more of our Mean Mommy stories. They’re reassuring (we’ve all been mean, so that makes it OK) and useful (it’s always good to see a mortifying parenting experience through a fresh pair of eyes). Such is the incredibly honest story shared on Facebook by writer Jaime Primak Sullivan. She was treating her three kids to ice cream at Dairy Queen, and when none of them said "thank you" to the server when she handed over their treats, Sullivan took them out of their hands and dumped them in a garbage can.
"So... I am the meanest mom ever... Like... Ever," she concluded.
All kids need good manners. Whatever digispeak takes over from normal words, "please" and "thank you" will never become obsolete. Kids have all sorts of conversational shortcuts nowadays, ways of communicating that require no eye contact and as little effort as possible, but good old-fashioned, face-to-face manners can never be replaced.
Kids don't understand the value of manners until they're older. They don't yet know that people are quick to judge, and those first few seconds are crucial if you want to make a good impression — on a boss, a potential friend, someone you want to date. They don't yet know how far manners can go — they don't cost a thing, but what goes around comes around, and if you've treated someone with courtesy and gratitude, they're more likely to send kindness your way. They don't know any of this yet, but someday they will, and if they've been brought up to be polite humans, life will be a hell of a lot easier.
Unfortunately, sometimes talking to our kids is like having a conversation with a brick wall. We drum it into them to say please and thank you. We're so scared that people will think them rude, we prompt them in public before they've even had a chance to forget. Sullivan's kids are unlikely to forget to say thank you again, so maybe we need to take a leaf out of her book and try being the "meanest mom ever" the next time our own kids forget those important words.
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