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Here's Why "Because I Said So" is So Important

mother gently but firmly leading toddler on beach

Many of us grew up hearing "Because I said so" from our parents as a reason for obedience. We didn't like it then, and we don't like it now, which is why so many of us cringe at the thought of using it as a response to our children.

We, being far more enlightened than our parents and determined to leave behind the primitive ways of parenting they used on us, have decided that it's more respectful and fair to explain ourselves to our children; after all, how would we feel if someone expected us to do something without explanation?

Truth: Evaluating what to do based only on how we feel is dangerous and foolish. Also, we forget: our kids are going to have to do assignments (school), perform tasks (job), and follow orders (military) that seem stupid and meaningless to them, AND, there are times when it's important to trust without questioning.

While it may seem more humane to explain, children aren't equipped, mentally, psychologically, or experientially, to comprehend our reasons. And honestly, like the rest of the human race, they want what they want; if they don't get it, the reason is irrelevant.

The root problem is that we, their parents, have come to believe we are truly autonomous, and we pass this belief on to them. It's easy to go through life completely driven by what we want, which is natural since that's the message everywhere. We admire people who "make their own rules," follow "their own truth," "create their own identity," and "lean in" to whatever success they seek.

We forget that we are creatures, that life isn't really our oyster, and that "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." Prov. 14:12

I'm not suggesting that we abandon goals, hopes, and dreams, just that the most direct route to fulfillment is found in first accepting that there is a God, and it isn't us; we have to accept that we don't understand everything, we aren't ultimately in charge, and that regardless of how much we may want something, there are limits to what we can and should do, limits put in place by God. It's best not to fight them. "Because I said so" is important, for us and for our kids.

God gives parents the job of teaching, training, and correcting their children; part of this involves requiring obedience, even when our kids don't understand why we require it. And sometimes it's important to answer their demand to know "Why?" with "Because I said so," gently and dispassionately, but firmly.

We can't afford to let them think they don't have to obey unless they agree with the reason, whether they understand it or not! Do you see this?

If you give reasons for your decisions every time, you're basically saying to your child that he is entitled to an answer--that you, Mom and Dad, must justify your decisions, and if he doesn't think the reason is good enough he isn't obligated to do as you say.

How about you? What things are you refusing to do because you don't think there's a good enough reason? What are the things you do because you think you have a right to create your own rules/reality/identity? Think about it.

Teach your children to do as you say, simply because you say to do it; let them learn they can trust you; help them to accept that they have to obey, even when they don't understand.

I've created a simple guide, with six steps you can take to communicate more clearly and effectively with your children. It's called the Guide to Alpha Speech, and you can get it free right here. Alpha Speech is nothing more than the clear, confident speech of a leader who knows what she's doing. It's what you need.

"God grant me the serenity accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."

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