Jan. 29, 2012
-- Children are inquisitive by nature. When they are younger, they usually want "because" explained because they want to better understand something. When they are older, they want "Because" explained because they want to better understand why you think the issue is important and why they should also feel the same way. Regardless of their age, it is imperative that when setting forth the rules and regulations in your home, your child understands there is no room for questioning the rules and that the consequences will always be followed through when the rules are disregarded.
Younger children usually do not understand a lengthy explanation of why it is important that they be home from a friend's house at a certain time or why they are not allowed to play ball in the house. But the one thing they do strive to do most of the time is to make their parents proud and happy. So when a child asks "why?" or "why not?" explain to them that following rules in a home is building up trust between the two of you and that you feel happy and proud, when they follow what you have said and have asked them to do. Avoid using the term: "Because I said so" under all circumstances. This will only lead to frustration and confusion and that is not your goal.
Older children - especially teenagers - will require more explanation from you as a parent. As a cool parent it is best to answer directly, honestly and clearly state your reasoning. Be consistent, be firm and be very clear. Always make sure they know you are being honest with them and that it is not just about you getting your way. Explain why you feel strongly about your rules and what is in it for them. Show they you love them and that the rules are for their good and their own protection. Listen to what they have to say and take them seriously. There is nothing worse for a teenager, then not to be taken seriously.
Though your child may challenge you by asking you why a rule has been put in place, it also shows their growth as an individual thinker. So try not to get angry or frustrated when they do so: realize it is their way of understanding their world around them. It is challenging enough for them just to be a teenager!
# # #
Enhancing happy relationships between parents and teenagers. We want parents and their children to have a great relationship - fun, meaningful, long-lasting, fair, solution-oriented and a win for both sides. This is not handed to you on a silver platter, but it is also not the most difficult thing in the world. It takes effort and time on both sides.