Should Parents Reason with Young Children?

I think almost every parent can relate to this scenario:

Focus on the Family president Jim Daly
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly recently spoke on same-sex marriage on NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday." |

You give your 6-year-old a clear instruction to follow. But instead of doing what he's told, he looks at you and, with a straight face asks, "Why?"

Believe it or not, how you respond to that question as a parent is more crucial than you might think.

There was a time in our society when a "Why do I have to?" from a child would get an immediate "Because I said so" from the parent. That matter-of-fact response has largely fallen out of favor among parents. But our guest on today's program, author Dr. John Rosemond, says moms and dads ought to use that answer a little more often.

He says in recent decades, pop psychology has taught parents that they owed it to their children to explain why household rules ought to be followed. But past generations didn't believe that way at all.

Young kids were simply expected to obey – because the parent said so.

That may sound like poor parenting to modern sensibilities. But according to Dr. Rosemond, young kids shouldn't be reasoned with. They should be taught respect for authority. That means kids learn to follow rules – not because they agree with them or understand their purpose – but because mom and dad said so. The logic behind your rules can come later in the teen years when they're mature enough to have those conversations.

In the meantime, have fun with your kids – laugh and play and horse around. But when it's time to lay down the law, don't try to reason with them. Expect them to obey the rules – because you said so.

Learn more tips on like this one on our broadcast today, "Raising Well-Behaved Children." You can listen online or our free, downloadable mobile phone app.

Source: DalyFocus

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. Follow Jim Daly on Twitter @Dalyfocus Follow Jim Daly on Facebook Follow Jim Daly's blog at DalyFocus

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