“Because” Just Isn’t the Answer
Children are inquisitive by nature. When they are younger, it’s usually because they want to better understand something. When they are older, it’s because they want to better understand why you think something is important and why they should also feel the same way. Regardless of their age, it’s imperative that when setting forth the rules and expectations in your home, your child understands there is no room for questioning the rules you set forth and the consequences of breaking the rules.
As Christians, we prayed for our children as they were growing up. It does not mean that we have been excellent parents, we made silly and serious mistake in parenting. In many senses, we actually failed to be good and great parents. However, we chose to pray for God’s protection and preservation of our children’s faith. More importantly, we pray for God’s grace, wisdom and much patience when we were bringing them up. Now that they have reached adulthood, we continue to pray for them. One thing Julia and I always believe that we cannot be with our children all the time, but our God can.
For Younger Children…..
It is very difficult to reason with younger children, they usually do not understand a lengthy explanation of why it’s important that they be home from their friend’s home at a certain time or why they aren’t allowed to play ball in the house. However, the one thing they do strive to do most of the time is to make their parents proud and happy. So when a young child asks “Why?” or “Why not?” when they are told they can’t play with something or someone or why they have to obey a rule you’ve set forth, simply explain to them that “because it makes me happy when you follow the house rules and do what I have asked of you.” You should avoid using the term, “Because I said so,” as that only adds to the child’s frustration and confusion.
For older children, adolescents and teenagers, it will probably require more from your explanation. When they question “Why?” or “Why not?” it’s best to directly, honestly and clearly state your reasoning. “I asked you to be home by 10 p.m. because we have to be at the dentist’s office first thing in the morning for your check-up and we can’t be late.” It is also a great opportunity for you to reiterate the consequences of breaking the rule. “If you are not home by 10 p.m., you’ll be grounded from going to your friend’s house for a week.” Be consistent, be firm, and be clear.
Though your child may challenge you by asking your reasoning why a rule has been put in place, it also shows their growth as an individual thinker. As parents, we should be pleased that our children are growing up and start having their own opinions and characters. So try not to get angry or frustrated when they do so; realize it’s their way of understanding their world around them.
Happy Parenting! It’s not an easy job but it is an amazingly worthwhile job.