We are officially in the "WHY?" phase with daughter. "Because I said so" seems to be my response when I want to be a lazy parent.
For some reason it stuck out to me and I made a comment. I wasn't the first commenter and I wasn't the last. Actually, a really good conversation ensued and, in the process, allowed me to discover a few things about myself and the way I parent.
Here was my first response to Derry:
I don't think "because I said so" is always a bad/lazy response. Kids need to learn to obey even when they don't know all the reasons behind the command or request. Sometimes, though, I get lazy too and say the same thing!
Later, following a few more comments I wrote this:
It seems that so many of my frustrations with my kids comes from their disobedience. When I say it's time to go to bed, they don't ask why. They just whine and complain, or just continue whatever activity they're doing. They know the reasons why because I have explained it to them before. In those times I question whether I've done a good enough job of training them to obey my requests/commands, even when they don't feel like it or don't know the reasons.
There's a tough balance to strike between holding your child's respect because of your authority and becoming a tyrant. I want them to trust that I'm always seeking what's best for them and, therefore, they can obey me with full confidence that this is going to be good for them. I don't want them to obey out of fear.
Obviously, obedience is a big thing for me. But I don't want to be a tyrant. I understand that kids will sometimes disobey, just because they're kids and they need to find out where their boundaries are. But that doesn't make disobedience acceptable, does it?
Here's the thing: We're not really talking about kids here. We're talking about us ... all of us. We are all God's children and we do the same thing to Him that our kids do to us. And if I expect my kids to obey me, whether I give them a good reason or just say, "Because I said so," then shouldn't I do the same for my Heavenly Father?
I'm striving to give them a picture of a Heavenly Father here on earth, but I've got to be willing to also give them a picture of a child of that same Heavenly Father.
I think parenting just got a little bit harder!