I realized that I had officially become “that” parent when I first uttered the words, “because I said so” to my kids. Growing up, I promised that I would never repeat my mother’s words. I did it anyway.
I don’t recall the event. It was probably one of the kids asking why they had to take a bath. But, I do remember the emotional tension of feeling both ultimately powerful and a total sell-out.
“Because I said so” is almost always preceded by “Why?” A person asks “why” when they are seeking meaning. They are trying to bridge what they know with something they don’t understand. It usually has an implied counterpoint. “Dad, why is it important that I take my bath right now instead of finishing My Little Pony?” As parents, we should applaud the “why” as it indicates they are seeking understanding.
Unfortunately, the question most likely comes after we have suffered the slings and arrows of work life and a brutal commute home. We know it is going to take time to explain why and in all likelihood they may not agree with our adult logic when we finish. It would be more efficient to tell them, “Because I said so.” The result is going to be the same, regardless. They will take their bath. Why not just cut to the chase?