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Oh No, Did I Just Go There?

As a father, I try my best to talk to my kids, well my daughter more specifically (my son is only 8 months old), like I would talk to anybody else. Minus the vulgarity, which was a tough switch to make when she was learning to talk, but that’s another story altogether.

So in talking to my daughter like she’s a big enough kid to understand reasoning, I always make a point of trying to explain why I do the things that I do. “I’m going to _fill in the blank_   because   _give reason_. I like to think it is because of this that she never went through the “WHY?” phase. You know, the one where the child asks why 20 times in a row, trying to further drill down exactly what is going on. She’s coming up on her fourth birthday, so I’m hoping she’s not just a late bloomer on this one.

Anyway, our daughter goes to daycare/school three days a week. She loves school, but she also loves getting to stay home with Daddy and her baby brother, so some mornings she is torn. On top of this, I usually let her watch a cartoon or two while she has breakfast and I get her brother fed and dressed. Some mornings the draw of another cartoon and staying home with Daddy and her brother make for some difficulties, like when it is time for her to finish getting ready.

Today I decided I was going to be careful in my morning approach. I got her dressed before breakfast instead of after, and I made a point to turn off the TV after 2 cartoons, explaining it was time to get ready. She said she wanted to watch another cartoon while she got ready, and I replied “No, because….”

Because what? I was so used to following everything with an explanation that I fumbled right into this one. I couldn’t say “…because you will stall and start to argue with me”, that wouldn’t be a good start to what was, so far, a pretty good morning. So, I said something to her I have never said before.

“…because I said so.”

UGH! It was a knife in my heart. She didn’t try to argue it. How could she? Daddy said so, and that is that. But at the same time, it went against the very grain of what my wife and I have tried to do- justify everything with logic and reasoning. Granted, there is only so far logic and reasoning go on a 3 year old, but when we word it right, she gets it. She understands she has to go to bed at a certain time so she is rested and her body can grow strong and healthy. She understands she has to brush her teeth to keep them clean.

But “because I said so”? I’m pretty sure at some point in a few days she will try turning this one on me when I ask her to do something, like pick up a toy. “No, daddy, because I said so”. I had better start thinking of a way to combat that one, and then hopefully close the door on “because I said so”.

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3 comments on “Oh No, Did I Just Go There?

  1. Lee
    November 10, 2008

    Hey there, fellow Etsy-NJ’er! (“New-Jersey-er”?? Wow, that is so clumsy. Just don’t say it out loud and you’ll be fine.)

    Had to chuckle at your “because I said so” story. A thousand years ago, when my daughter was your daughter’s age, I also felt as if I had to explain everything I said to her and I did for quite some time. But in the Land of Parenthood, the day *always* arrives when you’re tired or stressed or distracted and it’s just easier to do the “’cause I’m the parent and you’re the kid, OK???” thing. My baby is married now and has a baby of her own. As a new grandmom, it’s interesting to see her interact with him, particularly when he’s being exasperating (he’ll be two years old soon. You know how that is.)
    Ok, what was the point of my comment? Oh yes. Children like order and consciously or subconsciously expect their parents to maintain that order without having to explain it all the time. So relax, dad. Sounds to me like you’re doing OK. 🙂

  2. grecowoodcrafting
    November 10, 2008

    Thanks, Lee 🙂 School mornings are by far my most stressful times.

    -John

  3. Deronda
    November 14, 2008

    Yes, also had to giggle. I wonder how many times I heard one of my children say “I will NEVER say that to my kids”. And can only smile smugly when I hear them say it.

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This entry was posted on November 6, 2008 by and tagged .
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