Is it okay to say “because I said so” to your kids?
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Before I became a mom, I had an image in my mind of how I would treat my kids.
I imagined myself being fun, happy, energetic, creative, and super-loving all the time.
I imagined us having dance parties, tea parties, craft time, and adventure every day.
Well, once I actually had kids, reality set in quickly. These days I find myself using words I swore I never would.
One phrase, in particular, is “because I said so.”
My dear friend, Jessie, from the blog Her Arms are Strong, wrote the following article on this phrase, and I thought her insight was brilliant.
She graciously agreed to let me post it here since I knew this was a topic that would resonate with my readers, too.
“Because I said so.” When it’s ineffective, and when it’s RIGHT!
One of the things I swore I’d never say as a parent, and I really don’t believe it’s a good answer 99.9% of the time (I’ll explain the .01% below.) because it discourages our kids from asking questions and trying to make sense of things.
I think most parents use it because they don’t want their authority questioned.
But when you approach the parent-child relationship as equals and see yourself more as a guide instead of a boss, you don’t feel the need to hold tightly onto authority.
Instead, you understand kids just want to know WHY, fair and square.
They want to feel heard.
They rightfully want a say in their lives. If a conversation about “why” makes you feel threatened, you may need an ego check. And I truly mean that with love because we ALL need an ego check one way or another.
Don’t feel threatened. It’s okay to have a conversation, hear them, and explain your reasoning.
Your kids will respect you MORE for it because you’re giving THEM respect too.
So what’s the .01% of the time when “because I said so” is a good answer? Autonomy!!
A Lesson on Consent
I just used that phrase for the first time with my 3-year-old because he was trying to crawl all over me while I was eating.
I had already told him multiple times that I wanted my personal space while I ate. He tried again, and I told him I wanted personal space. “Why?” he asked.
“Because I said so.” I immediately caught myself and went to take it back, but then I realized…this was actually a good lesson on consent!
When it comes to your body and your personal space, you don’t owe a single person any explanation as to why you say no.
No means no, and that’s the end.
So I explained that to my toddler. It’ll empower him too!
If he’s ever in a situation where someone tried to reason themselves into his personal space when it doesn’t feel right to him, he’ll know that “no” is enough because he said so.
And if another person says no to him, he’ll know not to badger or try to reason his way in because “no” is enough, just because.
About the Author
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Jessie is the momma behind Her Arms Are Strong. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and together they have the sweetest little boy in the world. Jessie is a hippie, advocate for children and medical freedom, and expert healthy dessert taster. If she’s not writing or playing games with her family, she’s probably lost in the woods and needs you to bring her some snacks. You can find her on Facebook and also join her private Facebook group for crunchy, gentle parenting moms.
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