Being a parent can be a tough job. I remember my mother saying, “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times…” I never really understood that until I had a child of my own. At times I feel like all I do is nag my children. I always promised myself that I wouldn’t be the parent who becomes a tyrant and makes their children do things without explanation. But when I’ve had a long hard day and my child wants to know why they have to do their chores, all I want to say is, “Because I said so! Because I’m the parent!”
In studying about different parenting styles, we learn that the best and most effective parents have reasonable expectations of their children, have set rules and structure, impose consequences that are clearly defined and explained, and keep open lines of communication with their children. Your children should be able to ask why and get an answer that makes sense to them. Children are really quite intelligent creatures and will comply with most rules when they understand why it is a rule, why there will be consequences, and what those consequences will be. Many parents involve their children in the creation of the rules, which gives them a feeling of ownership and autonomy. Then they aren’t Dad and Mom’s rules, but they become their own rules or the household rules.
But is it ever okay to just say, “Because I said so”? I believe it is. When I make a request and my child asks why, I will explain. If I make the request a second time, and they now become argumentative or obnoxious (I am sure your child is a perfect angel, always!), then I feel justified to insist on obedience without any more explanation. Of course, I need to avoid raising my voice. I can quietly, but firmly, insist on obedience. There have been occasions when a situation was very sensitive and I could not give an explanation, either because it involved breaking a trust, or it was beyond the comprehension of my child. And there have been times when I simply did not have the time to explain – I needed immediate action. A friend once shared that she taught her children, “Obedience first, explanations later.” If your child is in danger, you sometimes need them to do something simply because you said so.
Here’s a website you might want to check out that identifies different parenting styles. This might give you some great ideas on how you can improve your parenting skills: