Somewhere in my parenting journey, I came across the idea that when using the word “No” with children, no matter what age, I should always follow it with my reasons why. This would turn the babies into reasoned, tantrum-free beings driven by fact and logic.
Maybe I’m doing it wrong.
Even though I offer valid, pediatrician-approved reasons for telling my darlings “No,” the explanations seem to wither in the face of the children’s dissenting opinions. In fact, many of my “because…” statements seem drowned out completely by their protests. I’m not sure what the problem is.
No, you can’t wear the sundress and flip flops on this 7-degree day. Even though it’s spring, we’ve so completely destroyed our planet that typical weather patterns no longer apply and we might be stuck inside for another three months before Earth finishes punishing us this year. Put on the sweatshirt.
No, a diet of gelatinous sugar rubber (aka “fruit” snacks) and batter-dipped meat substitutes cannot possibly sustain your hurricane levels of play. Even though Sugar Inc. has conspired to put Paw Patrol packaging on nearly every kid food in the grocery store, they don’t have your health in mind. Eat the broccoli.
No, they don’t make diapers any bigger. I know public toilets offer pressure-washer flushing, eardrum-bursting hand dryers, and smell like a combination of kitty’s litter box and Daddy’s egg salad, but that’s where the big kids go potty. The time for wrapping your rear in non-biodegradable cushioning is over. Pee already.
My logic is sound, my explanations are lengthy and research-based. They’re just wholly ineffective.
At any rate, this notion of providing verbal support for my decisions as Mom can get a bit frustrating.
So as I face down tantrum #473 from my 3-year-old after suggesting that no, we can’t possibly go to the donut store, ice cream shop, and bakery today, I decide to go a different route. I give in to my primitive instincts and offer as my reason why: “Because I said so!”
It felt good. Really good.
I finally flashed the Mom card, and I’m wondering how I’ve made it this far without using it more.
Yes, it’s good practice to be calm, rational, and explanatory in many kid confrontations. But I also think pulling rank can be a useful exercise and just as instructive. It reminds my young children that we are not equals when it comes to questions of health, safety, and pretty much everything else.
Respect the Mommy.
But am I ready to fully embrace an authoritarian reign of Mommydom? No…because I still have hope those rational beings will emerge one day