Recently I felt things were getting a little out of control with discipline in our home. In nothing short of impeccable timing, I stumbled upon an interesting person, John Rosemond, an old-school family psychologist. He says he got all of this advice from his great-grandmother and the Bible. He had four magic words that have begun a great change in my home. Because I said so.
I became a mom 8 years ago. And every once in a while I sit back and reflect on what I have learned. I am the youngest in my family so I never had any “little mommy” moments. I was the last one. I did lots of babysitting, but not of babies. I didn’t even know how to correctly change a diaper when I had my little one. My husband had to teach me!
So when that precious moment came 8 years ago I quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing. During nap time, I started devouring parenting books.
I read about infancy and started taking notes on what to do with toddlers. There were so many do’s and don’ts and honestly some conflicting opinions. There were a few points where I could find consistencies, but those started becoming few and far between.
As I got settled and met new friends or spent time around family and their kids, things became even more confusing. Occasionally I would read blogs, but I found even more differing opinions there. If I had a behavior problem with one of my kids there were 10 opinions on how to handle the situation.
There were so many theories on how I was going to ruin my children if I did such and such. They will be devastated by the word NO so I had to find alternatives. I should always explain what was going on and how it was going to be done. On and on came the advice that was honestly contrary to my upbringing and my husband’s.
That brings me back to John Rosemond and those four simple words. When I learned how he backed up his advice, namely the Bible and his grandmother, I decided that was more sound than many of the other supposed experts I had been reading. After all, advice that old is tried and true.
I started implementing his four simple words immediately in our home.
That is it. So simple.
Stop explaining. Stop worrying that your child will be damaged by hearing the word no. Stop expecting your 3 year old to be able to understand your adult logic. Stop arguments in their tracks!
I started implementing these four magic words into my life and it was magic. There was less arguing instantly. One of my children responded to my request with Why? Simple answer, Because I said so. And it was over. There was nothing to argue. I didn’t give him anything to work with. There was a moment of watching his brain come up with something, and it just didn’t happen.
Recently I was at a pool party with my son’s friends. The pool was crowded with kids and one wanted to do a back flip. He was told no, there are too many kids in the pool. He tried to argue saying there was plenty of room. I finally stepped in and said, Because she said so. Done. He was stumped. He had nothing to respond with so he just jumped in and swam to his friends.
You may have an interchange that goes something like this:
Mom: Boys, pick up your toys.
Boys: But we aren’t done playing.
Mom: Pick up your toys.
Mom: Because I said so.
Boys: But, why?
Mom: Because I said so.
Years ago when it was just D and me while hubs was off to work I would try to talk to him constantly. And because I had read it in some book, I would explain things to him. It started this bad habit really early.
As I began applying “Because I said so” into my parenting repertoire I started realizing how much explaining I was doing. I realized I wasn’t even giving my son a chance to ask why. I simply gave him the reason alongside the No.
D: Mom, can I have some chocolate chips?
No, I am saving those to make cookies tomorrow.
D: But I only want a few.
No, I need them for my recipe.
D: Well, you could go to the store tomorrow and buy more chocolate chips.
Me: I don’t want to go to the store tomorrow. I have lots of things to do tomorrow and going to the store is not one of those things.
D: But you drive right by the store on the way to school.
And on and on it would go with no one to blame but myself. It could have gone something like this.
Mom, can I play Minecraft?
Because I said so.
Because I said so.
Done. I gave him nothing to argue with.
Here is the funny thing. Since I started paying attention to my patterns with my kids, I have started paying attention to my friends as well. We all do it! We all give our kids unnecessary explanations as if they are suddenly going to say to us, Wow, Mom, you are so right. I totally understand what you are saying. Thank you for taking the time to explain your point of view.
Are you imagining this working in your home yet?
You don’t have to be mad or angry to make these words work. Just confident, firm, and unbending. As the adult, you are the leader of your family and you are responsible for them. So what you say goes. Don’t give your kids the chance to argue with you and you will all be happier.
So remember these beautiful four magical words.
It works, I promise! Be kind, be firm, be confident!
To read John Rosemond’s book, Grandma Was Right After All, find it here.