Because I said so, that’s why.

Parents, when is the last time you gave your child a direction or asked them to stop doing something, and your child immediately asks you, “why?” 

Depending on the age of your child, this could be a common occurrence. So, keeping that in mind, how often is your answer, “Because I said so, that’s why”? 

It’s understandable, sometimes, that there’s no time to explain your reasoning to your child. However, your child might not be learning what you’re hoping to teach at that moment. Your child may stop asking why in that moment, but can you say for sure if your child’s question or possible feelings of confusion have gone away? What do you think some long-term consequences of that might be if you don’t answer their question?

It’s not always easy to see as a parent if you are making the right decision. I certainly don’t know if I’m always doing it right, but I try to examine my goals and use that to guide what I’m trying to teach with consequences and limits—using discipline as a means to teach rather than to punish. That question is a guiding principle of Dan Siegle’s book No-Drama Discipline.

So the next time your child asks you, “why?”  I wonder what it would be like to ask yourself

  • What am I trying to teach at this moment?
  • Am I ready to teach it?
  • Is my child in a receptive mindset and ready to learn?
  • And what is the best way to teach it?

Written By: Dustin Ellis

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