My wife and I get accused of being mean parents all the time. Relatives, friends, and casual acquaintances all accuse us of being too hard on our 5 year-old daughter. Apparently any of the following on this list will qualify you as a mean parent:
A) Making your child behave in a respectful manner in public.
B) Making your child behave appropriately during church services.
C) Not letting your child run around indoors (in any building) like a wild animal.
D) Making your child eat a well-balanced diet.
E) Punishing your child for breaking rules.
It is annoying in today's world that you are caught between a rock and a hard place. If you don't discipline your kid then people point and whisper and talk about what crappy parents you are. If you do discipline your kid then people point and whisper and talk about what crappy parents you are.
I have a goal. I want my daughter to grow up to be a well-mannered, properly-behaved young woman. I want her to be happy, healthy and well adjusted. The list above I believe will get her there. It will teach her that there is a time to play, and a time to work. A time to talk, and a time to be quiet. It will teach her that there are consequences for the choices she makes. It will teach her that worshiping God is to be kept in reverence and to not be taken lightly.
It will also teach her healthy eating habits. I really don't understand why people, especially other parents, object to D. I see obese kids all the time that will only eat McDonalds or other fattening food. Try to get them to eat peas or carrots and they scream and flatly refuse. I am also stunned at the number of adults I meet that are incredibly picky eaters, or won't eat fruits and vegetables. Our society is full of overweight, unhealthy adults because they won't eat healthy foods. And they are literally killing their kids by instilling the same "if you don't love it then don't eat it" mentality.
So while my wife and I are branded as mean parents, I think in the long run that my daughter, and ourselves, will be better off for it.