“Because I said so” is frustration given veto power. It’s dismissive and unfair. Parents should never say it. Agree or disagree?
That’s what I posted on Facebook yesterday. As you can imagine, it generated more than a few comments. Parenting issues–especially one as universal as the dreaded Because I said so–are popular topics among my Facebook friends. Mostly because my FB friends are my age and aren’t looking to max out their chill at DJ Teddy RXpin’s mad rave this weekend and don’t roll so much with the homies. (Does anybody really roll with homies anymore? Probably not. We have an underground nation of sad, lonely homies out there, don’t we? Poor, poor homies.)
Even friends without kids felt the need to opine. It seems just about everybody has either said “Because I said so” or been on the receiving end of it. But why?
Probably the best point made in the favor of Because I said so was that if you’ve got a kid with the pester gene, sometimes that’s the only answer they’ll accept. Makes sense to me.
I think, ultimately, you need to give your kids the respect of an explanation. That’s how they learn. “Why?” is often an annoying question, but it’s a good one. It’s a question that deserves taking some time to answer (so long as it’s asked in sincerity and not repetitively and disrespectfully). But there are times when military-like obedience is required and, to me, that’s what Because I said so represents.
For example, running around in the kitchen when the oven is open. If my child seeks an explanation first before stopping, she might very well end up with some serious burns at best, or end up as dinner at worst (only if my second cousins, The Cannibals, are over, but you never know when they’re gonna drop by). But if my child understands that, until she’s an adult, she must obey me regardless of reason, then she’ll stop immediately “because I said so.” The explanations can come second.
I think the trick is building up the faith and understanding enough so that when you say Because I said so it really means something and it’s not just a last resort. If my child knows I care about her and that answers will always be forthcoming at some point, then I think she’d be more likely to take my word as law and never, ever be so totally incorrigible that I’ll be tempted to utter the words Because I said so in total frustration.
Also, I’m pretty sure Pollyanna is totally a true story.
What do you think? Is there every a time when Because I said so is appropriate? Or do you try to ban the phrase from your vocabulary?