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Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Mean Moms Rule: Why Doing the Hard Stuff Now Creates Good Kids Later + Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success + Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402264143
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402264146
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,266 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


""Mean" moms make kids learn to do things for themselves – from making breakfast to finding inner peace. They are so mean, in fact, that they refuse to treat their kids like darling little dolts. I'm hoping I'm a little meaner myself after reading this book." - Lenore Skenazy, founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

"What ever happened to raising your kids to leave you someday? Well, the 'everybody wins,' 'my kids are my friends,' perfect parenting culture got in the way. Luckily, Denise Schipani shares her secret to being a "Mean Mom," and why it's better for your kids – and for you – in the long run." - Jen Singer, author "You're a Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't So Bad Either)

"It's a way of life that too few parents are willing to impose these days, with negative consequences for both parents  ("Hang onto yourself," Schipani advises. "You may need that person later") and children alike. But she feels the benefits are well worth it. "I am going to take these two little boys I've created and turn them into good men. If it kills me."" -

""Mean Moms Rule" is a great investment for all parents. She reminds me that being a firm and financially sane parent will help my little guy grow up to be a steady, self-disciplined young man." -

"Mean Moms Rule is Denise's no-nonsense, reassuring, funny, and above all empowering take on parenting. She's not telling you her way is the only way, or that it's scientifically proven that xyz will result in abc. She's not trying to convince you that there's a right way to parent. She's just calling it like she sees it." -

"Mean Moms Rule is a good reminder that we can be reasonable in our parenting." -

"Denise Schipani has written an amazing book that every parent should own. I'm so proud to know that I am a MEAN MOM!" -

"Finally, a book that enforces good old fashion discipline, hard work and the regular use of the taboo word "NO"." -

"Wow, I was feeling kind of guilty for having to constantly say no, but after reading a few of the pages my confidence has gone up and I will continue to be a proud mean mom." -

"If nothing else, you'll feel validated in knowing you're not the only one turning down requests for candy before dinner, inappropriate TV shows and a toy at every store - they'll thank you for it later." -

"After reading "MEAN MOMS RULE: Why going the hard stuff now cretes good kids later!" by Denise Schipani.  I realized that among many other things, being the mom that feels natural to me, and parenting the same way, is really good for my children.  " -

"Schipani encourages moms to do the right thing – always. Kids don't need a perfect mom. Kids don't need a slacker mom. They need a mean mom who loves them too much to go soft now." -

"In a Nutshell: A modern-day parenting bible, Mean Moms Rule proves that you don't have to be a pushover to be a decent parent. " -

" In the Hot-Off-the-Presses book, Mean Moms Rule, Denise Schipani shares her strategies on parenting her two boys the "mean" way. She's not really "mean," though kids might say so. She's just decided to stick to her guns and be the parent." -

"I found that I really agreed with much of what Schipani writes about, and they are all things I learned from my own mom." -

"If you're a reader of mommy blogs you might like Denise's edgy, witty writing – for others, her strong opinions may be a little off-putting. While she undoubtedly loves her kids, she's never one to coddle or let them believe that the world owes them something. She believes in hard work, discipline and that the parent should always be in the driver's seat." -

"" -

"The basic lesson from this book is that it is within our power to make our kids self-sufficient, motivated by their own achievements (and not external recognition), and ready to take on the world. Denise Schipani provides inspiration in Mean Moms Rule." -

"If you have time I would either download this book (iPad, Nook, Kindle, heck even phone!) and read it!! Take it and use it as a daily manual!" -

"Mean Moms Rule shows parents how to master both sides of parenting and prepare their kids for the world." -

""loaded with the kind of common-sense parenting I was raised with. In fact, I think my own mom would love this book."" -

""This firm yet playful look at the merits of tough-love parenting explains why doing the hard stuff now, like saying no when you need to, results in happy kids later."" - Scholastic Parent & Child

About the Author

Denise Schipani has 20 years experience in magazines, where she worked at Child, American Baby, Bridal Guide, and All Woman. She freelances for these as well as Parents, Parenting, Family Circle, Redbook, Real Simple, Woman's Day, Fitness. She is the founder of

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Customer Reviews

I also believe the key to raising good kids is making them independent.
Mean Moms Rule: Why doing the hard stuff now creates good kids later by Denise Schipani is one of the best parenting books to have on your shelf.
Liza Weidle
I highly recommend this book to any parent who wants to raise a happy and well adjusted child.
Robin IPLawyer/mom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 90 people found the following review helpful By CrimsonGirl VINE VOICE on August 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
"Mean Moms Rule" could've easily been a 5 star review for me except for most of chapter 2 and parts of chapter 1. Ms. Schipani takes a basically sound premise (that a woman should retain some interests outside of motherhood) and uses it to launch into a tedious rant against stay-at-home-motherhood. Her disdain for SAHM's literally drips off the page in the most arrogant way. If a woman decides to shelve her career after she has kids, it's a product of an "overinflated sense of importance" and represents "parental self-absorption". SAHM's according to Ms. Schipani are unkempt doormats with "no life other than one of service to [their kids]" and whose wishy-washiness cause them to lose their children's respect.

Ms. Schipani projects her own feelings of being "out of her mind with boredom" at the life of a SAHM onto other women and cannot possibly believe that we SAHM's actually *DO* indeed "love spending the bulk of our days with sticky-fingered folks who don't have all that expansive a vocabulary". I always knew that I wanted to be a SAHM someday and back when I was in my late teens & early 20's I worked as a nanny because I loved spending time doing what Ms. Schipani considers "mind-numbing aspects of raising little ones such as glitter crafts, Play-Doh, or Candy Land".

Do all women have the temperament to be full-time SAHM's? Of course not. There is nothing wrong with a woman who finds her paid employment fulfilling continuing to pursue her career full-time after having a child. Certainly I'm glad our family's pediatrician decided to return to her practice and so on. Feminism was supposed to be about empowering women to decide for themselves and each of us should support those moms who have made different choices than we have. I just wish that Ms.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mom of 2 on May 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I just finished this book and it made me feel awesome about the choices I've made over the years about raising my children. Schipani writes a manifesto that is not in-your-face but is rather a light and enjoyable read that will truly get you thinking about how you can raise your children to be the kind of adults we all want to populate our Earth.

From the back cover:

Mean Moms say NO.
Mean Moms TEACH kids the life skills they need to know.
Mean Moms FAIL THEIR KIDS a little bit every day.

This is posted on my refrigerator and it reminds me that I can be a "mean mom" and still love my children immensely.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mama23 on May 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
Awesome book! Lighthearted but gets the point across. I wish I had this book nine years ago when I had our first of three sons. In the past year we realized that our kids were running the show and our oldest (now nine) had NO responsibilities. We did a lot of whatever was easiest (just doing the dishes ourselves) rather than giving our boys the skills they needed. We've slowly been turning this tide around and after a year of hard work the benefits are really starting to show. My son might complain about having to do his laundry, but he is also very proud of the fact that he knows how to run the washing machine or make his own lunch. This book came along at just the right time to give me an extra boost. Thanks so much!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Katrina on January 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book. Before picking it up, the scholarly-types (which I am one of) should know that it's not an academic or research-based book. That being said, it was a very enjoyable read and made lots of good points about parenting. Though the book references 10 "Mean Mom Manifestos", they can really be summarized into two: 1) Do not give up who you are as a person just because you become a parent, and 2) Set rules for your kids and stick to them. Along the lines of the first one, Schipani points out that so many mothers these days give up all their interests to focus exclusively on their kids. She argues that if you enjoy reading, you should continue to make time to read. If you have a favorite TV show, don't stop watching it. If you have a career, don't give it up just to focus on your kids. Your kids need to know that you have interests and needs too, and that they aren't the only important things roaming this earth. As with her second main point, too many parents these days let their kids call all the shots. In many different ways, Schipani provides examples of this and argues why it makes for self-centered and needy children, who then become self-centered and needy adults.

Schipani is clearly a strong, educated, and confident woman who has become a strong, educated, and confident mother. It's nice reading a book by someone like this who has chosen to become a mother, but not lost herself in the process. I guess the biggest thing that I learned from reading this book is that Schipani and I have a lot in common when it comes to our philosophies on parenting and on life. :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By JenAless on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book from a friend before she even got the chance to read it.
I swear that this book was written for me! I have been waiting for instructions and reasons on why taking the path of least resistance when parenting is seldomly the right path to take. We all know Its hard to resist giving in, and to delay instant gratification but Denise gives concrete reasons and stories to get you moving in the right direction.
I wasn't born a mean mom. I didn't have a mean mom growing up but I think I would be better equipped for day to day challenges as a parent if I had had one. So, I am going to aspire to be a mean mom for my kids. Thanks Denise!
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