We've all been there. You're tired, it's been a long day and you just can't do another long, drawn-out argument. I remember my parents using the famous "Because I said so" with my 4 siblings and me. Looking back, it was an indicator that Mom or Dad was done with the conversation. They'd shared their view, allowed us "some" room to share ours, but their rule was the rule in the end. Now, I will admit to having used that tactic with our 3 kids as well. As I always tell my clients, we learn our parenting from our parents, so don't be surprised if you hear them when you're talking to your kids at some point! So, what's wrong with using those famous 4 words? It stops the conversation As an exhausted parent, you're probably thinking that's a good thing and to some point, I'd agree! There are times when we have gone around and around with our kids and we have reached the end of our patience. The problem with "Because I said so" is that it shifts you from an authoritative stle of parenting to a dictatorship parenting. When parents take on a dictator role, kids may rebel or withdraw and they come to believe you are not approachable. It doesn't teach problem-solving One of our responsibilities as parents is to teach our children how to interact in the world. We need to model good communication strategies so they will learn how to get along with others, including those who challenge them. "Because I said so" is the verbal equivalence of walking away and slamming a door shut. It does not encourage an exchange of thoughts and feelings, nor does it allow the other person to be heard. It makes a child feel unworthy
Nothing makes a child feel loved unconditionally than when they know their parent will always be there for them. If a parent shuts a child down without hearing their thoughts and feelings, the child may feel rejected. "Mom won't even take the time to listen to me." By taking the time to listen to the "small' stuff, you are opening up future opportunities for your child to come to you with the "big" things as well. So, what can we say?
"I'm sorry. The answer is no, and here is why..." allows you to share your concerns about safety, health, etc within the parameters of family values. When parents base their decisions on family values, it shows consistency instead of impulsive reactionary decisions. Your kids are used to hearing about family values (if not, let's chat! You need to know more about this little secret to discipline success!) Opening things up for calm, rational discussion (not emotion-driven arguments) will enable you to share your concerns, hear out your child's thoughts and feelings, then reiterate why the family rule is what it is (and the expectations to follow the rule). If your child continues to whine, you need to step more firmly into your authoritative parenting role and set a boundary. "I have already discussed why the answer is no. If you continue to whine at me about it, you'll be spending some time in your room. Now, let's move on." Remember to follow through on the consequences you set so your child knows you are serious. It may not go smoothly the first few times, but eventually, your child will learn when he chooses to push the limits, he will experience the consequence. While "Because I said so" was something many of us grew up with, it doesn't mean we can't shift the approach just a bit to allow for teachable moments and better communication with our own children. After all, we learn as we go! If you have a parenting concern or question, please reach out because I am here to help! Simply click this link to book your parenting strategy session today!