• Conversations with Dr. Donna

    Secrets to Success: Giving Reasons

    Dr. Donna Housman       

    thumb_hotemotions_bigheader v04Something as simple as giving reasons to back up our rules and decisions can help our children accept our answers, even when they aren’t the answers they are hoping to hear!  I know when I was a kid, my parents would say “I want you to come home by 8pm” and I’d ask why and they’d say “Because I said so”.  The “saying so” phrase sometimes gives the parents the feeling of “I’m the boss”.  That’s understandable, but what happens in that situation is that the child then strikes back since “because I said so” sets up a power struggle; the dynamic becomes “it’s me against you” and that’s not what we want; we want a united front.

    Instead, you need to give your child a clear concise reason.  In this case say, “I want you home by 8pm because I’m going to be going out and I want you here before I go out; I need to know that you’re safe and that you’re home”.  They may not like the reason but at least it’s a reason for why you are telling them to do something that you really want them to do.  They don’t have to like the reasons but the reasons help them to feel that it’s not a power struggle.  It’s not about you versus them because there is a clear reason why you’re asking them to do something.

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