I had the opportunity to interview author Joanne Kraft about her just released book, The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She has a way of speaking truth while lacing it with humor and grace. In a time where kids are enabled more than empowered, her advice is solid. It’s important for us to see what our kids need long-term rather than the quick “happy meal” fix that never satisfies.
1. Your book is titled, The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. In the book you discuss mean moms and marshmallow moms. Can you describe these two moms?
Mean moms get a bad rap. They’re moms who stick to parenting when it’s hard and don’t shrink back when their child thinks they’re mean. Marshmallow moms are BIG softies. They struggle with keeping boundaries. This book is written to encourage moms to see past their child’s wants and instill what they need.
2. What are essential elements needed to be a successful mean mom?
A relationship with Jesus. A marriage where you partner in parenting. PRAYER!
3. In the book, you talk about stealing from our kids. What do you mean?
Parents want children to grow up into adults who are independent, hard-working, God honoring people. Yet, we do so much for our kids these days that we ultimately rob our children of experiences to grow them up into these kinds of adults.
4. You encourage moms to have a mission statement. What’s your Mean Mom Mission Statement?
I’m not raising a child. I’m raising an adult.
5. How does a mean mom cure an entitlement attitude with her kids?
Responsibility and hard work.
6. What is the number one lesson a mean mom teaches a child?
Respect. Like every generation before us, respect is lacking and it needs to be resurrected as a family trait. The Mean Mom’s Guide shares lessons in teaching respect to your child.
7. What’s the meanest thing your kids would say you’ve done?
Got rid of our TV. We didn’t have a TV for six years. Today we have only one in our home and it’s in a bonus room. (When you move to the south you need to follow football!) We watch as a family only pre recorded shows or movies we approve of. TV isn’t a right—it’s a privilege. Our kids don’t just turn it on and watch. If you were to visit us at our home you wouldn’t even see a TV.
8. Who should a mom find to help her become a mean mom?
Look for adults you respect and then meet with their mother. They give the best advice, because they not only encourage but they share things they wish they’d done differently—most often where they wish they’d been “mean” when they’ weren’t!
9. What makes The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids different from other mom-books out there?
When I began writing The Mean Mom’s Guide I decided to ask for a little help. I created a “Mean Mom Team” Facebook group that became an intricate part of this message. I wanted to include other moms and their words/ideas/beliefs about parenting. Their quotes and stories are peppered throughout and really speak to lots of moms. In the process The Mean Mom Team became encouragers and prayer warriors for one another and for me, too. It was an unexpected blessing!
Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and her just published book, The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She and her husband, Paul, recently moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. Visit her at JoanneKraft.com and clikc here to sign up for her monthly newsletter.