Just Because is not the Answer
Children are inquisitive by nature. When they are younger, it is usually because they want to better understand something. (“Cool Parenting Tips”) When they are older, it is because they want to better understand why you think something is important and why they should also feel the same way. (“Why “Because” Just Isn’t the Answer”)
Regardless of their age, it is imperative that when setting forth the rules and expectations in your home, your child understands there is no room for questioning the rules you set forth and the consequences of breaking the rules. (“”Because” Just Isn’t the Answer – Child Development Institute”)
Younger children usually do not understand a lengthy explanation of why it is important that they be home from their friend’s home at a certain time or why they are not allowed to play ball in the house. (“children | Abundant Life Together”) “But the one thing they do strive to do most of the time is to make their parents proud and happy.” (“”Because” Just Isn’t the Answer – Child Development Institute”)
So, when a young child asks “Why?” or “Why not?” when they are told they can’t play with something or someone or why they have to obey a rule you’ve set forth, simply explain to them that “because it makes me happy when you follow the house rules and do what I have asked of you.” You should avoid using the term, “Because I said so,” as that only adds to the child’s frustration and confusion. (“Why “Because” Just Isn’t the Answer”)
Older children, adolescents and teenagers alike will require more from your explanation. (“”Because” Just Isn’t the Answer – Child Development Institute”) When they question “Why?” or “Why not?” it is best to state your reasoning directly, honestly, and clearly. “I asked you to be home by 10 p.m. because we have to be at the dentist’s office first thing in the morning for your check-up and we can’t be late.” It is also a fantastic opportunity for you to reiterate the consequences of breaking the rule. (“”Because” Just Isn’t the Answer – Child Development Institute”) “If you are not home by 10 p.m., you’ll be grounded from going to your friend’s house for a week.” Be consistent, be firm, and be clear.
“Though your child may challenge you by asking your reasoning why a rule has been put in place, it also shows their growth as an individual thinker.” (“Building Self Esteem in Children: Setting Rules and …”) So, try not to get angry or frustrated when they do so; realize it is their way of understanding their world around them. (“Parenting Advice Discipline”)
Encourage Your Child to Feel Important
It is imperative for a child’s healthy development to feel important and worthy. (“Encourage your Child to Feel Important”) Healthy self-esteems are a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time managing conflicts and resisting negative pressures. (“Parenting Approaches to Foster Children’s Self-Esteem …”) They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life.
These kids are realistic and optimistic. It has also been shown that children who feel important are well-rounded, respectful, and excel in academics, extracurricular activities and hobbies and develop healthy relationships with their peers. (“Parenting – Self Esteem.pdf – Contents Building Your Child …”)
“In contrast, for children who do not feel important or cherished have low self-esteem, and challenges can become sources of major anxiety and frustration.” (“Encourage your Child to Feel Important”) Children who think poorly of themselves have a tough time finding solving problems, and may become passive, withdrawn, or depressed.
You are the biggest influence in your child feeling important, valued, and worthy. Remember to praise your child for a job well done, and for putting for a valiant effort. (“Encourage your Child to Feel Important – Healthy Patriot”)
Praise the good traits they naturally possess and help them find ways to learn from their mistakes and failures. Be honest and sincere in your praise. (“Overcoming Low Self Esteem – EzineArticles”) Help them realize that you also suffer from self-doubt and can make mistakes from time to time, but that you know that you are important, valued and loved. (“Encourage your Child to Feel Important – Healthy Patriot”)
When you nurture your own self -esteem and importance, your child will learn to do the same, so be sure to lead by example and avoid self-depreciating yourself or engaging in activities that lower your self-worth or importance. (“Child Self Esteem Tips”)
Your child may have inaccurate or irrational beliefs about themselves, their abilities, or their traits. Accentuate the positive about your child and encourage your child to set realistic expectations and standards for themselves. Help them identify traits or skills they would like to improve and help them produce a game plan for accomplishing that goal. Encourage your child to become involved in cooperative activities that foster a sense of teamwork and accomplishment. (“Parenting – Self Esteem.pdf – Contents Building Your Child …”)
Through these and other positive, affirming activities, your child is sure to develop a keen sense of self-importance, value and worth which will carry into their adult years.
Best Wishes, Coyalita
Behavioral Health Rehabilitative Specialist
See Tomorrow: “Follow Through Is the Key to Successful Discipline”
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