09 February 2008

The Power of "Because I Said So"

Today I got to thinking about how far from my childhood I have come as a parent. My parents liked to use - if not the words - at least the "Because I said so" mentality. You were a child. You were to be seen and not heard.
But the other day, I asked one of my kids to do something, and they did what they "thought" I wanted instead, and I actually heard myself say, "Don't think, just do what I say." *gasp*
This is absolutely the opposite of what I want my children to do.
I always want them to think.
I never want them to do something just because someone says so without evaluating it - not with anal intensity, but with common sense, practicality, wisdom.
I couldn't believe I said it - but I heard myself and made a speedy correction.
The thing is that in a relationship of mutual respect and trust, cooperation comes more readily. It has taken me a long time to learn this. It has been a trip to learn that I don't have to control my kids or exert authority over them because I have the power to do so. This is the kind of parent that God is with me - He allows natural consequences of my actions, but He never exerts the power that is His just because He can.
I do not always do this well -often reverting to the natural hard-wiring. Today we were in the car and I asked Kaitlyn to squirt some hand-sanitizer in her brother's hand. Instead she gave it to him. I had a list of reasons why I wanted her to do it the way I said it - it wouldn't get put away, it gets laid on the floor, stepped on, and squirted across the carpet, it won't be where it should be when we need it again, etc. I just didn't want to take the time to tell her all of them. I got aggravated with her when she did it "her" way instead of mine, instead of letting her know why it was important to do it the way I requested. The thing is - if one of my friends were in the car, and did just the same thing, I would take the time to explain it to them. Why do my kids deserve any less? What do I teach them when I get aggravated and irritated and expect blind obedience instead of sharing with them why it matters to me that it is done a certain way.
This is just one example - maybe some of you are thinking - so what about the dang hand sanitizer. This is just the most recent example I have - work with me!


  1. You are teaching them you aren't perfect. That you make mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Then you show them a better way. Unschooling is at it's hardest when we are hurried, sick or cranky, in my opinion. That's when it is even more important to be aware of ourselves. They'll appreciate your stick to it ness in the end.

  2. Ideals are hard to implement 100 % of the time since we have that whole being human thing going on. You do a great job, though. Your kids will have wonderful memories of their childhood.


Awaiting your words......
♥ Juls ♥