Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Sunday morning was typical. Except it was totally different. We had a "supply" Pastor at church Sunday and some of his words stuck in my head. I can assure you that the words that stuck in my head are not the words that he hoped would take root. He delivered a fantastic sermon but the phrase "because I said so" set my mind in motion.
Those words were part of a story he told about his kids and doing dishes and how sometimes they have to be reminded...and sometimes that includes "...because I said so". But as he told the story and I heard the words, it dawned on me that sometimes having someone say that can be a relief. It can be a feeling of love, support, and a clear definition of boundaries. It can be a question-ending, path-defining, choice-eliminating statement that offers finality and comfort.
Even though my new phrase is contrary to the communication skills I teach, I believe it has a place in our repertoire. And you know what? I think the teens/tweens are begging us (parents/teachers) to say this sometimes. I don't think this phrase is the best way to regularly communicate with your kids (or anybody); but when used, it speaks volumes: not everything is up for negotiation and I love you enough to have clear boundaries for you.
You can say "because I said so" without saying a word: remove your impressionable teen from the steady diet of social media, don't allow computers and TV's in bedrooms, be mindful of clothing, etc. The reduction in the potential for self-imposed isolation (for kids or adults) can change your family life.
Nobody is suggesting that putting your foot down about some situations and declaring "because I said so" will be easy and all will be in agreement. But what matters isn't always easy. If you are declaring "because I said so" then it must be important and worth the effort.