Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What I Think About: "Because I Said So!"

My parents have no gray hairs and I consider this to be a miracle because to say I was a bit of a hard kid is akin to saying the Grand Canyon is a little crack.  Seriously, every day I parent I'm amazed my parents did drown me or leave me in the wilderness or donate me to science.

As a kid, I talked--a lot!  Incessantly, really.  I'm sure you can't tell.  I mean, it's definitely not a habit I've continued ... oh wait.

I'm digressing.

One thing I couldn't stand as a child (and more specifically, a teenager) was when my parents said, "Because I said so."  Seriously, what kind of logic is that? I vowed that when I was a mom I'd never say those four little words.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I've recently started breaking that vow.

My name is Reagan and I tell my kids "because I said so."

Sometime I feel guilty about this.  You see, I want to logically explain to my children why I must say no or why we simply can't do or have everything they want.  I've taken this route and the more I explain, they more questions they have.  At the end of some circular debate they are angry, I'm irritated, and we generally can't remember what the offending question was to begin with.

Anyhow a few weeks ago I tired of all this circular logic talk and I broke out the big guns. BECAUSE I SAID SO.

The second those four little words slipped out of my mouth I felt ill-at-ease for using them.  But you know what happened?  My daughter accepted that answer.  WHAT?  All this logic never works but that does?  You've got to be kidding me?!?!

So I've started to say it more.  I'm not gonna lie, sometimes those words fall on deaf ears. Some times they inspire tantrums and revolts.  But thus far they haven't led to a cyclical debate (I'm sure that will happen soon).

Here's the reason I really don't feel guilty.  Sometimes rules and laws get changed on adults and we don't get reasons.  No one explains the logic to us.  We are still expected to comply because "they" (who is they by the way?) say so.  For example, I live in Wyoming where the speed limit on I-80 is 75 mph but when I cross into the state of Nebraska, the speed limit on the same interstate in 70 mph.  There's no reasoning posted.  No one explains the logic.  That's just the way it is and if I don't follow what they say, I'll have to pay for it.

I think that's how it goes for our kids.  We have reasons for the limits we set on them; we do not have to engage them in a debate about why those limits are set.  We are not parenting my committee.

What I think is that sometimes using "because I said so" is a perfectly legitimate parenting tactic.  In general I still think it is a good idea to talk and logically explain situations to kids.  But I don't feel guilty when I utter those dreaded words.

And you shouldn't either.

What to read the random heart-pourings of others?  Click this button and head over to Things I Can't Say! Thanks, Shell!


  1. Love it...but I hated that saying for the same reason when my parents said it. I don't have kids but if I do, I know I'll say it, because it's the truth! :)

  2. Not only have I used "Because I said so", I've also started to employ its evil sister, "None of your business". Where did my plans for enlightened child rearing go?

  3. I've recently started saying those words as well. Sometimes its all you've got.


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