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Successful Parenting:Quick Obedience, Explain Later, Because I Love You

As parents and educators we get to understand that it is the nature of children to ask “Why?”. This is especially the case when they are being asked to do something that they really don’t want to do or what we are asking them to do doesn’t allow them to do what they want to do. Some people see this as a form of resistance or defiance. Others see it as an opportunity to educate and enlighten their child. In actuality it can be all of these things or none of these things.

Whatever the reason is behind the question of “Why?”, we can all agree that there are times when there is not time for an explanation. If your child is doing something potentially harmful or dangerous, there is no time for “Why?” There is barely enough time for action let alone an explanation. For example your child is playing and you tell them to come here and they decide to run away and run into a busy street there is no time to explain, you might get hurt.


Growing up many of us heard the line, ” Because I said so!”, when we asked “Why?”. We didn’t like it and it may have¬† caused some resentment or hurt feelings and even confusion. How different we would have felt if instead we heard ” Because I love you.” I believe being both a parent and an educator that this is the real meaning behind “Because I said so!”. There are the same amount of words in both phrases but the difference is a world of difference. The first one conveys a message of don’t question my authority or me. This message is not empowering to the child and invites resistance, something we certainly do not want. The second phrase is like a great big hug enveloping you in love. It melts resistance and gives a child something that every child wants, love, attention and acceptance.


If your child persists in knowing why, you can tell them I’ll explain it later. Mommy or Daddy needs you to respond quickly.¬† When they do respond quickly thank them with a smile and say “Thank you _____ for responding so quickly!”. Have enthusiasm and excitement in your voice like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and it’s so wonderful. Your child will pick this up. They will sense happiness and joy in your voice. They will also pick up acceptance and acknowledgement and appreciation. These are things all of us want, acceptance, acknowledgement and appreciation. Remember what ever you appreciate grows.

This is exactly what you want. You want to share these good feelings with your child. You want you child to feel good about being quick to obey, to feel good about doing the right thing and to experience acceptance and appreciation.

In closing there is one thing I want to make clear. You cannot view this as if your child is doing you a favor. This will cause indignation within yourself and bring about resistance. This is not what you want and this is not about that. What it is about is getting your child to respond quickly to your requests and parenting and doing it in a respectful way. If they really feel that they need an explanation you can explain later in the form of a story to them at bedtime or a more convenient time. The most important thing is that you want your child to know that they are loved, respected and that you want the very best for them. Feel free to leave a reply. Your comments and opinions are always welcomed and valued.

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