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Are You As Good As Your Mom?

Discipline is alive and well

At the end of the day, though, it seems today's mothers go to bed feeling proud-a staggering 99 percent give themselves a parenting grade of excellent or good. And while more than half of the women say they "spoil" their kids more than their own moms did them, discipline is another story. The vast majority say they are as strict as their mothers were, or even stricter, with their kids. "The baby boomers rejected discipline, and now we're seeing a swing back to a healthier cultural norm," says Dorothy Firman, Ed.D., a psychotherapist in Amherst, Massachusetts. "These mothers seem to be saying, You can let your children be who they are but also teach them limits and rules."

My mother, my role model

All in all, our survey suggests that on May 14, American women will be joyfully celebrating their moms. Over a third of the women say they sometimes feel like they're turning into their mothers-and most of them say that's a good feeling.

That's certainly true for Janet Bengtson, 47, a substitute teacher and former nurse in rural Lemoore, California, who has three teenage sons. She puts our finding into her own highly personal, articulate words: "I realized recently that I talk the same as my mother; that when my feelings are hurt, I get very quiet, hold my breath, and count to ten like she used to do. And a lot of the way I am as a mom is because of what I saw her do when I was a child. Like her, I was very strict when my kids were young and made sure they had clear, tight boundaries. Also, we had little in the way of material goods growing up, but it didn't matter, because my mom was crazy about us. That's how I am today-what matters isn't money; it's the excellent relationship I have with my boys. My mother and grandmother love them, too, and my mom is totally involved with all 22 of her grandchildren. I'm part of a strong heritage of really good moms."



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