“Because I said so” is an age old response used by parents in moments of exasperation. This type of response is often toward the end of a negotiation, line of questioning, or maybe even at the onset of a child questioning a parent’s directive. Whenever or however it is used, it often leaves at least one or more of the parties frustrated.
Because I often hear about situations of extended arguing or questioning of parental rules and expectations, I have developed four categories that easily explain why a direction or expectation has been given. These categories include:
- Health – this includes reasons for physical health, mental and emotional well being
- Safety – this includes keeping one’s person safe (physically, mentally, and emotionally)
- Education and Learning – this includes valuing a child’s education and their life learning
- Cooperation – this includes learning and understanding how to get along with others and how to live with others
Within these categories, I can easily explain (in a few words) to a child why a direction has been given or a rule has been established. When I share and explain these reasons, children understand and find it difficult to argue as the basis of these categories (and parental expectations) are for their health, wellbeing, and betterment.
For example, bedtime is easily explained by health, education, and cooperation (i.e. a good night’s sleep is important for your body and brain to function; also, it is important in regard to one’s overall mood and how one is able to get along with others). Curfews are easily explained when considering safety and health (i.e. proper sleep for overall functioning and sleep habits impact functioning in the days to come; also, knowing where your adolescent is into the evening and nighttime hours is just wanting your child safe). Rules for electronics, such as putting all devices up by a certain time at night, are easily explained by reasons related to health and learning (i.e. important not to interfere with a good night’s sleep, maintaining a balance of activities is important in learning how to interact with others and develop a balanced skill set, not allowing too much electronics time interfere with schoolwork, family obligations, home obligations, or interaction with others).
Hopefully, this will be of assistance the next time your find yourself wanting to say “Because I said so!”