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General : Columns : Celia Last Updated: 2, Apr 2018 - 10:02

But Why???
By Celia Anderson
2, Mar 2002 - 18:30

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Just a thought occurred to me this afternoon….If parents expect children to obey and listen to all they tell them to do…how can they be so sure that what they are teaching and telling the children is correct? One hears a lot how parents say, they made a mistake, but that childrearing is not an easy job.
Yeah Right ?!?

As a parent, have you ever been stunned by the question “But Why?”, when you have just told your teenage daughter that she may not go out on Saturday night with her friends. And as hard as you try, you have no idea, why not? It just seemed to be a good thing at the time, but faced with the question, you reply with the most cowardly, parent reply that ever existed, “Because I say so?!?”.

Oh, come on Parents, we can do better than that. Why not just sit down and think about the decision you have just made, and really ask yourself, “But Why?”…Is it just your pride as a parent that makes you stop changing your mind. Or are you afraid to loose footing with your child if you do, or do you think that the child will respect you less, if you go out there now and say that you have changed your mind, and she can go. Explain to your child that you have thought about it and you have no valid reason why she should not go on Saturday night. It may also go the other way, you might sit and think about the question, and come up with an answer. For example, your child had promised to baby sit or had promised to do better at school, and thus given more freedom to go out, which has not happened. If there is a valid reason that your child should not go, or any other decision you have made, have a valid reason. Then stick to your guns, if you wish, but don’t forget to explain that to your child as well, don’t just say “because I said so”, that is just not good enough, and believe me, you will not win the respect award. Our children are human beings, with emotions, moods, temperaments, red blood cells, like us. Some of them seem to be born to test us to the limit, but what always works is to show respect and consideration to your child, and for goodness sake, talk to your teenager as an equal, not as an unwitting, uneducated, silly child. Some of them know more than we think. Your child might not be happy with you at that moment, and you might get resistance or sulks, but in the long run, your child will respect your decisions. She will know that you have thought about it well, and its not just a “because I say so” decision.

If we are the ones they depend on to show them the way of life, how about doing it with their interest at heart. It is so quick to take the easy way out. I had a very good teacher, my Dad, and when times came when I was at a loss as what to do, I would sit back and think of what my Dad would have done in this case. My daughter knew that when I asked her to give me a moment, it was not to avoid the question, but to think about it. I am sure I made many mistakes, but I did the best. When I look at her now, and see this lovely sweet person, witty creature, I might add, I thank heavens that it all worked out fine. I know it is not easy to be a parent, and some lives go very wrong, so I do not give myself the whole credit for how our daughter turned out, but I am pleased with it. It helps sometimes to sit down with a child and really listen to them without interrupting. To really see their point of view and see how they feel about a situation. We all think differently, and sometimes (more often than not) they have a valid point to make. Maybe our busy lives, our job or just the rut of life gets in the way, and it’s a fresh point of view that can open our eyes. I pray and hope that I was a good mother, and hope that, if I was, some of it has rubbed off on my daughter to help her with raising our little Candice. (Good luck, my darling angel, and may Candice be a joy to you as you were and still are to me.)

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