One thing I greatly disliked as a child was for my mother to say “because I said so” when I asked her “why” I was to do what she said.
Things were going to be different when I had children.
I would follow a different rule – one that showed appreciation for their intellect, allowed challenging of boundaries, acknowledged their right to be heard and to understand the “whys.”
With my firstborn I explained “why.” Repeatedly.
And, my efforts were rewarded with “why?” And, so, I explained further…more detail….
After all, he was intelligent. I was secure enough in my role as Mom to allow him to bump against boundaries with “why” even if it seemed he challenged me/my desires in doing so.
I understood the need to understand “why.” Sometimes even I didn’t understand all the “whys” involved.
Scroll forward a couple of years and my daughter walked among us.
She, too, intelligent child that she was, asked the immortal question, “why?” And, being the wonderfully modern mother that I was…I explained.
And, explained. And, explained.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Now I had two “why-ers” and it took twice as long to accomplish anything that required their involvement – they both asked “why” and I explained “why” but my explanation was never to their satisfaction.
One day I’d heard “why” one time too many and I snapped, “BECAUSE I SAID SO!”
That answer needed no discussion – left no room for debate.
It drew a line in the sand and demanded a choice. And, the only acceptable choice was obedience.
It put me in the position of authority and any inquiry that contained “why” became an instant challenge to my authority.
I became my mother.
And, I realized why she said “because I said so” when I asked “why.”
Many of my “whys” WERE intended as challenges to her authority, to her will, to her way.
And, many of my children’s were as well.
My daughter recently reminded me of the day I wised up and screamed in exasperation: “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” She also said she didn’t like that answer and always wanted to understand “why” but I never explained…my reason was always the same:
Because I said so.
My mother had another saying – I’ve yet to use it. Thinking back, I wish I had.
“It’s my house and this is the way I want it. When you get your own house, you can do it any way you want.”
My mom = smart mom.
Why? Because I said so.