Guest Author: Susanne Skinner
This is a word used mostly by Moms who want their children to do something and don’t have a rational reason to back up the request. It is also the answer of choice for denying a request and avoiding a prolonged argument. Children hate this answer and will always respond with counter measures that include “that’s not a reason” or (whiney voice) “but why…”
As a child, I heard this one a lot. I hated it. As a parent I find it succinct, to the point, and a fine answer to questions posed by all persons under my roof who are too young to drink. It bears up well under repetition, has sound judgment behind it, and with a tweak or two works well for most requests.
Here is an example that many of you will recognize:
Child: “But Mom…..just give me a reason”
Me: “Because I said so”
Child: “That is NOT a reason, you need to give me a reason”
Me: “The reason is because I said so”
Child: “I mean a REAL reason”
Me: “Because I am the Mom, and I said so”
Child: “But can’t you just say wwhhhhyyyyy?”
Me: “I said NO”
Child: Walking away muttering…..”You just don’t get it”
Dad: (from the living room) “I’ll tell you who’s going to get it…”
Are you with me?
As I child, I did not find this answer credible. It was a parental cop out. Like they knew something and weren’t telling me, or they were just plain mean. I swore when I had children I would never respond with “because I said so”. I would be the new age parent. I would take the time to have a rational discussion with my children and provide the reasoning they requested. We would establish harmony and peace between us. There would be no whining, door slamming or muttering.
Then I became a parent. I suddenly realized what a gold mine this answer is. Because I said so IS an answer, and a very fine one at that. It is a short and profound way of asserting your dominion over those depending on you for food, clothing, shelter and allowance. It is inarguably one of the best answers parents ever used.
This wonderful one liner provides the way out when, if actual reasons were given, would incriminate you. It would expose you as someone who has done exactly what the petitioner is requesting when you were their age. You know exactly what is going to happen and it can never be revealed. Never do this. Ever.
This is part of the secret code of parenting. It’s passed down, not in a formal way, but through the realization that comes when you have kids of your own. It slams you like a high speed train and you realize your mother was right. You suddenly remember conversations you had years ago when you wanted to do something that seemed perfectly reasonable and she said no.
Me: “becauseisaidso is NOT a reason and I will NEVER say that to my kids.”
Mom: “When you have kids and they are your age, call me”.
She knew this would happen. It is a rite of passage for this same situation to be visited upon you when you become a parent. There is no getting around it – your childhood is staring you in the face. You suddenly see what happened, and you understand just how wise and clever your mother was.
Two additional and effective parenting tools are the unfinished sentence, as in “If I have to get up and come in there…” and the rhetorical question, which sounds like “Do I have to stop this car?” The last one was a Dad expression. He was usually driving when Bad Things happened in the back seat of the station wagon.
Parents are still using these expressions today because they work so well. They are time tested and kid proven. Once you start using them on your kids you will appreciate the sense of timing that each of these requires. A significant pause or the measured cadence of sentences with unspoken punishments of grounding or allowance withholding made even the brave ones back down. I can still hear the echo of my Mom’s voice asking “Do I need to repeat myself?”
You will not find these key parenting tips in books, on web sites or talk shows. They are the not the stuff child experts have built careers on. These are tried and true techniques that generations of parents have perfected on their own kids. If you are my age, you have used these with great success and know the truth of which I speak. They work.
P.S. If you’d like to see one woman’s hilarious take on this concept, watch this video. It’s even funnier if you have raised kids and are drinking a class of wine.