"If I worked all day, and worked hard, and I was smart at what I did, and I was diligent at what I did; and still, despite my best effort, I didn't make a positive impact on the group of people that I saw that day, I would come home and I would go after my bathroom. Because then you were able to step back and stay you worked for an hour, but there is something with a result."
"What we've done with these kids who do egregious things is we don't let them know right from the start this kind of conduct is unacceptable," she added. "If you tell your child to be home at 11 and they come home at 12 and nothing happens, next time they're gonna come home at one, next time they'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico!"
She said she practiced the same kind of tough-love approach with her own kids.
"I remember saying to my boys, when they went away to college, and to my grandson, who's graduating from college: 'If you get pulled over driving drunk, don't call me. Forget my name. I don't know who you're going to call. Sit in jail. Don't call me. Don't do the wrong thing.'"
But she says, her zingers are not the same as those dispensed by "American Idol's" Simon Cowell, who's also known for his blunt remarks and insults.
Sheindlin said there's no comparison between her behavior and Cowell's where "people who come and sing their heart out...are annihilated for sport."
"There are all kinds of ways of saying that to somebody who's doing something from their soul and trying to do their best. Not trying to get over on you, not trying to make a fool out of you or your show. There's a difference. There's a subtle difference," Sheindlin said. "I couldn't be Simon Cowell."
How, we wondered does her work on television stack up against her years of public service? While she says there is no real comparison, she does believe the program has positive results. Not just in setting standards of behavior, but also for other women.
"I appreciate what I do, which is daytime, syndicated television with a message...Women watch and say, 'I like watching you control your own space. It's motivated me to do better, to go back to college, to even try law school. My daughter's been watching you since she's ten; I love the fact that she's watching a strong woman who's in control.' All of those things are good, positive things."
It has been a long and successful run, but Sheindlin said she'll be ready to hang up her trademark robe when her contract expires in 2013. She'll be 69 years old.
"I think 2013 would be a nice time. It's nice to leave on top," she said. "I would consider this a great adventure. I think when it comes down to it … I know a lot of people who have a lot of things. If they don't have a great family, they've got zip."