Why “Because I say So” can be a Powerful Phrase – Part One
It is very sad as a parenting educator watching parents struggle nowadays. The more off track we as an overall society get with child rearing, the more off track our instincts get as well. Although I don’t like how media sensationalizes things, the truth is, for the majority of families, things are worse now than they were a few decades ago.
One of the many ways we are off track is not seeing how our kids need us to be their strong leader, or GPS, as I like to put it. A leader doesn’t have to boss their children constantly, but they do provide clear direction. They focus on providing what their kids need, not want, and giving them the skills and tools they need to thrive.
Popular parenting wisdom nowadays is that saying, “Because I said so”, isn’t a good thing. I agree that there are better phrases to use, AND I want to explain why this can be a much better response when we are setting a limit with our kids than what modern parents typically do.
Let’s briefly think about the role of limits in a child’s life. We all want our kids to be happy and well adjusted. To be well-adjusted, your kids have to learn how to accept what is without having a temper tantrum or getting stuck doing the same thing over and over that isn’t working. That’s the role of limits; they teach our children not only that there are boundaries in life, but by their very existence, they make children learn to deal with them. Those are huge gifts, as kids who understand and can deal with limits, are kids who are happy, well-adjusted, and able to make the most of situations.
How do they learn to accept limits or the things they cannot change? By going through the pain of realizing that it is futile. There is no way around it. Many of us choose to spare our child the pain now of accepting that she can’t have things that she wants, like that latest toy, a play date, one more game on the computer, etc. We do so because we don’t see the connection between that and an adult who has road rage, can’t cope with not getting the job she applied for, has a meltdown at work over a conflict with a colleague, etc.
(By the way, we also sometimes choose to spare our child the pain because we are struggling to accept a limit in our own lives! Maybe in order to set the limit our child needs, we need to accept the futility of being able to meet a need or want of ours. If setting the limit is going to take time and energy, we may have to forgo something we really wanted to do! Sometimes we are the ones who need to help ourselves deal with the futility of what we can’t have, before we can help our children!)
The fact is, just like a river needs limits in the form of riverbanks, or the water would dissipate and cease to be a river, your child needs limits if he is to learn to be a truly happy, well-adjusted individual.
I’m going to continue this on the next weekly tip and get back to why the statement, “Because I said so,” is so much better than what most parents say!
I hope you enjoyed this tip! I’d love to hear your comments, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.