The infamous words that every parent supposedly gets the right to use when they cross the bridge into parenthood – “Why not? Because I said so.” Done. That’s it. Our kids are supposed to hear this and just take our word for it. Is that really what we want to be teaching our kids though? This simple phrase is teaching our kids that they should blindly follow authority without an explanation given or a sensical reason as to why the instructions should be followed. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids raised that way. Look at what trouble society has gotten itself into when we have people just blindly following because something is the norm or because a person of authority “told them to”. Now, I’m not saying people should go be anarchists and not follow the laws in place, however I do want my kids to question if I’m (or someone else for that matter) is telling them to do something and they don’t think it’s fair or right. As adults we often have to make decisions that our kids don’t deem as fair or right, but don’t you want your child to say something if that’s how they feel? If my child thinks I’m being unfair about a decision, I will encourage them to tell me. I sure hope I don’t pull the parent card and think because I am the parent, I know everything and am perfect in decision-making. Honor your child’s opinions and voice instead of belittling them by essentially communicating that they aren’t deserving of an explanation of a rule or instruction.
In addition to empowering our children by providing them with information, don’t we want our kids to start making their own judgement calls and witnessing our thought process behind why we do things and why we don’t? We are robbing our children of this learning opportunity when we simply respond to our children with a “Because I said so” as a response to their inquiring mind. Take that extra 2 minutes out of your day to explain why they can’t eat that extra slice of cake or jump off the top of the slide. If we don’t walk them through our thought process, how will they come to learn this cognitive skill? What a benefit to them if we think out loud and walk them through our reasoning instead of just simply saying “Because I said so”.
So next time I’m tempted to say “Because I said so” to my 3 year old because he doesn’t understand why he can’t hit is sister with his plastic sword, I’ll try to remember to pause, walk him through why we don’t hit people and appreciate that he is inquisitive as to the instruction given.