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Archive for the ‘compassionate’ Category

Since my mom passed away I have not been the same. Not just because I lost her, but because of what I learned about my two grown sons. I have been in awe of them ever since.

The first thing they each said when I told them of her aggressive cancer diagnosis was, “How soon can I go see her”, halfway across the country. Neither had the time or money and neither gave it a second thought.

They spent an entire weekend devoted to creating last memories with her, building a snowman in her front yard as she watched from inside with her oxygen and cane until she couldn’t contain herself anymore and ran out in socks to have a picture taken with them and the now famous snowman.

They baked Christmas cookies and threw pieces of dough at each other until she joined in laughing. When they had to say their final good-byes, both were incredibly strong.

I raised my boys as President of the Mean Mom’s Club, with a plan to teach responsibility and compassion. Sometimes they called me mean when I refused to give in to things that I knew were unsafe or against the family’s values. This experience taught me that I was successful beyond my highest goals for them. I am in awe of these compassionate young men who are my sons.

In a world where we continually hear about young people getting into trouble and being focused on just themselves, this is a story that needs to be shared.

How did they become responsible and compassionate rather than self-focused? I believe this is learned behavior and I believe that being a “mean mom” with a plan taught them that behavior. No, I don’t mean a mom who is a tyrant or who uses physical punishment. A true mean mom is one who knows from the beginning what kind of person she wants her child to become, creates a plan to get him/her there, and sticks to that plan all the way through, no matter what. That’s not easy to do. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, and heart breaking at times. But if you have a plan to follow, you can get through it. And when you find yourself looking at such amazing young people as my sons, every hour of lost sleep, every tear, and every gray hair was worth it.

If your goal is to raise kids to be responsible, compassionate adults, you need to plan how you will teach that throughout each stage of their development. As kids grow physically, they also grow emotionally and cognitively. That means they focus on different things in different stages and can only understand certain things at those stages. That means teaching new behaviors and values as they grow.

  • Infants need to feel their needs will be met and that they have a positive social connection.
  • Toddlers need to learn to explore their world and realize others share that world.
    • Keep him safe when his emotions are out of control and keep your own emotions in check to help balance and calm him.
    • Preschoolers need to learn to include others in their world.
    • School age kids need to learn to socialize with different types of people and accept their differences.
    • Teenagers need to learn that other’s needs sometimes come before theirs.
      • Assign responsibilities to younger siblings such as helping with homework.
      • Get them involved in some type of volunteer experience.
      • If old enough, find a part time job, even for a few hours per week.
    • Meet his needs when he expresses them. Making a baby wait teaches only that his needs will not be met.
    • Talk to your baby and keep her in your presence when awake, in a walker, swing, etc.
    • Allow independence but stay close while she explores and learns to be around others.
    • Arrange social experiences, especially if not in pre-school.
    • Focus on the cause and effect of the situation (when you do this, this is what happens).
    • Use logical explanations that include actions and consequences.
    • Involve them in team or group activities.

As you watch your kids grow through each stage, create opportunities to teach them to be responsible and compassionate within their understanding and focus. Plan ahead for what you can provide that matches your family’s values. You will be in awe of the result!

Have you ever met someone that just struck a cord…like you needed to know that person and s/he just came along at the right time?  That was the case with meeting Maureen, aka Mean Mom President.  Having already seen one of her TV segments that left me very intrigued, I happened upon her online! Soon she became a sponsor http://sandiegobargainmama.com/business-spotlight/mean-moms-club to San Diego Bargain Mama.com and shared with my mom circle her awesome book.  Seeing that indeed we live in a small world, I found that she just lives down the street and was headed to the same meetup (good ol’ social media)! I was eager to share with her some headway I was making with my 5 and 7-year-old kiddos and asked her thoughts on the matter during the drive. 

 I recall Maureen asking me to tell her what one character trait I wished most of all to instill in my kids/family.  My instant answer: “Integrity”.  Fast forward to earlier this month.  I was compelled to tweet out to her that my DD (Twitter talk for dear daughter) for the second year in a row was chosen as the student of her class to receive the Integrity Award.  I had to hashtag that I was one “#proudmama”!  I shared this with my girl’s current teacher who said she got the chills.  How cool is THAT?

 In reflecting on HOW I have consciously instilled integrity in my kids, I would love to share one thing: Just as self-esteem isn’t really taught, I believe that integrity is, rather, instilled and modeled during teachable moments. 

 Instilling integrity means:

  • Showing compassion toward others, yet also
  • Discerning and modeling appropriate behavior in various circumstances.

 This requires:

  • Demonstrating how to be honest and honorable and, key for little ones…
  • Having them demonstrate and witness self-control.

 We do this by:

  • Guiding our kids to choose wisely in situations, and also by…
  • Sharing our (as parents) decisions and what led us to make them. (discussing how our actions impact others, putting ourselves in others’ shoes).

 Some of my everyday examples of “teachable moments” include: 

  • My husband and I owning up to our quarreling and having us “rewind” to model conflict resolution (yes, in front of the kids)
  • Having our daughter turn in money she found
  • Encouraging her to brainstorm suggestions to help with her “wandering eyes” during class spelling tests
  • Enforcing an age-appropriate chores checklist
  • Walking her little brother to his classroom line each morning, etc. 

 When I see her demonstrating integrity I ask her what part of integrity she thinks she just modeled and let HER say what she is proud of (ownership) vs. my assigning it. 

 The cool part is that she can now identify it in others and model it for her younger brother (who has a problem sneaking M & M’s from the trail mix bag in the pantry)!

Learn more about the San Diego Bargain Mama at http://sandiegobargainmama.com.

What? A mean mom? Yes, a mean mom.

But don’t you want to be the nicest mom, the bestest mom, the sweetest mom, the biggest pushover mom?

 No, you don’t! Not if you want to be the mom who looks forward to a relationship some day with responsible, independent, caring young adults who can take care of themselves.

 Now, it’s not easy to be a mean mom. I know because I am President of the Mean Mom’s Club and my sons will vouch for me. They happen to be two of the most responsible, compassionate, independent young men you will ever want to meet who are my pride and joy. But as one son says, “We didn’t always like each other.” And that’s ok.

 In fact, that’s essential in raising independent, responsible kids. But it’s a tough thing to do for moms who believe that a good mom is the nice mom, the sweet mom, the pushover mom.

 As moms we have a job to do and we have to always keep that job in mind, even when the going gets tough; even when the toddler is screaming in the store aisle for that candy & people are giving you the evil eye; even when your 10 year old tells you all the other moms are ok with that movie and you just live to make his life miserable; even when your teenager claims you can’t keep her from getting that belly button ring.

 So, here are five tips on how to become the best mean mom.


  1. You are not perfect and never will be; give it up. Get and use a support network when it gets tough.
  2. Know what’s important for rules in your house and make sure they are teaching the values you want your kids to learn.
  3. Enforce those rules in different ways at different ages.
  4. ENFORCE those rules! Every time, no matter what. Learn to say NO & mean it.
  5. Remember that your job is not to be their friend. They have friends. They need a person in charge who will give them security & safety in the form of consistent boundaries every single day. It’s a scary world out there. They’re counting on you to be mean enough to protect them from it and teach them to cope with it.

 And when they ask why they have to follow those rules, tell them “Because it’s in the Mom’s Rule Book.”


As a mother of four with ages ranging from six to fifteen I have learned to persuade my kids to do what I know is best for them.  Managing a household, while working full-time and being an author of young adult fiction causes me to be extremely creative while taking a moment to reflect on what worked best on me when I was a kid.  By using the actions that worked on me, making them fun to learn, and reinforcing them with scenarios have given me great results.


Before you can teach your kid anything you need to really get to know them.   My oldest son is a passive aggressive.  He will agree with anything you say, hardly ever talks back, but will automatically go do what it is he wants to do.  My oldest girl is Miss Perfect, except she thinks she is smarter than everyone – especially her parents.  My youngest girl is impulsive, expressive, and wears her feelings on her face.  My youngest boy is one hundred percent alpha male in a tiny little package.  He is not a follower, extremely active, and hates to be told what to do.


All of my kids were readers before kindergarten.  How did I do this?  Well everywhere in the house that they went to every day I posted letters (started first with the vowels) and sight words.  We would play a game.  When we came upon the dresser, the word dresser would be there, and we would say the word each time.  When we came to the stove, the word stove would be there.  We would play the vowel game and sing the vowel song while I would make their breakfast.  With kids you can teach them most anything if you make it a game.


I had a goal chart up in our kitchen, and the goals stated what goals we wanted to achieve.  The kids would get rewards daily for meeting their goals.   At the end of the day, my kids were able to put their sticker on the goals they met.  They also put the red sticker on the goals they didn’t meet.  I would ask them what choice they should have made in order to make that goal.  Usually they would give me a better choice.


When your kid gets to be a teenager, your approach should change.  You want them to have ownership of the choices they make.


The best way to do this is to talk to your teenager.   Spend lots of time with them.  Show them that you think they are smart.  Let them know that you want to get to know the person that they are growing into, and get involved in their activities..


My kids don’t have TV’s or Video game systems in their rooms.  If you start this out when they are young, they don’t realize that it is something that they are missing.  That way they have no real reason to hide out in their rooms.  The older kids do their homework in our office or family room.  The younger kids do their homework in the kitchen.   We hang out together in the common rooms were there are TVs and Video Games.


When I was younger, I thought I knew everything.  However, my father was smarter than me.  He would chat with me and put me in all types of scenarios.  Like he would ask me, “If this guy that most of the kids in school were kind of jealous of, was hanging out with everyone and got drunk or drugged up.  What do you think they would do to him if they could get away with it?”

As a teenager, kids hate to be told what to do.  At least I did.  However, when my father would use different scenarios, ask me questions that lead me to the correct responses, he had me.  Once I had walked through the scenario, thought about the consequences, and responded with an answer then I wouldn’t be caught unaware when I was placed in that situation.  I owned the response, the choice, and the decision to do what was right.  I also, had accessed the various consequences to making the wrong decision.


At times when my kids make the wrong choices, even when I know they have been taught better.  I talk to them, ask them why they made that choice.  I also tell them what the punishment for that choice is, and ask them if that one moment of defiance was worth it.  I never back down from a punishment, so I make sure that it is never made in haste, and that it reflects why the choice they made was not the best. 

By: LM Preston, www.lmpreston.com, author of EXPLORER X – Alpha

Mean Moms Club: The Moms Rule Book is a collection of 7 foundational rules to help you become a take charge parent with a plan, even when that makes you “mean”.

I’ve created a blog/video series to give an overview of what each rule entails and how it relates to the others.

 This segment in the series is Rule #5: There’s a difference between need and want…and I’ll tell you which it is. In the short video below, I tell you the difference and why this is important. These are also in print below for those who would like to be able to go back to this information, especially as the series progresses.

 Disclaimer (you know I have to have a disclaimer): I am not a perfect mom, nor am I a perfect video producer! But I think you’ll get the points, and maybe even enjoy watching it while you do.

 Your primary goal in raising kids is for them to grow up to be responsible, compassionate adults who can not only take care of themselves, but who care about others around them.

 What is the difference between want and need? Things we want are desired because they’ll make us happy in some way. Things we need will provide something for us in some essential way. Kids have no frame of reference to know the difference so it is the parent’s job to help them learn it.

 How do we teach this?

  •  By earning the things we really want
    • We appreciate what we work for because we put something of ourselves into that achievement. If we don’t teach our kids to accomplish goals on their own, they will never be successful adults.
  •  By denying things that are not essential We learn to appreciate others by having some things denied to us.
    • We learn to share.
    • We learn to see the perspective and needs of someone else.

 Did you answer this question correctly from the video?

 “If I can’t have a computer to keep in my room, then we can just skip Christmas. That’s ALL I want!”  What do you do?

A. Buy the computer because kids need one for schoolwork.

B. The family computer works fine. Ask what else is on the list.

C. Apologize that you can’t, but maybe next year.

 The correct answer is B. Review the video to learn why.

 In summary, learning the difference between needs and wants teaches two things:

  1. Appreciation for what we work for
  2. consideration of others

 The book goes into detail about teaching our kids to share and contribute to the family to learn to be responsible and compassionate.

 Watch for the next rule summary in the series, with key points of Rule #6: I get to be President…of the mean moms club.

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