Dreaded Parenting Explanation: Because I Said So That’s Why

because I said so, that's why


As a child, I too encountered the dreaded “Because I Said So.”  It was usually yelled in frustration or hissed between clenched teeth.  No matter what the method of delivery, it signified the end of the discussion.  I remember wondering, what exactly does that mean and why is that a remotely valid argument?  It was a parental trap; there was no way to fight it, and yet you felt unsatisfied in conceding.


Now, at 30 somethingish I know what it means.  It means you’re losing the battle with a child.  Yep, “Because I Said So” is the phrase used when you are being outsmarted or out-debated by an 8-year -old.  The truth is, sometimes their reasoning makes sense … a lot of sense.  Sometimes, I listen and think, okay, let’s do it your way.  But most of the time there’s a reason I’ve made a particular choice and I have to stick by it, well that or I’m just another stubborn adult standing on ceremony.


I never imagined that I would be losing arguments to 8-year-olds or even 5-year-olds, for that matter.  They’re smart little buggers, aren’t they? Want proof? I recently partook in this exchange:


8yo: “Why can’t I have another candy?”


Me: “You had enough.”


Mathematical 8yo: But, they’re small, so ten is the equal to one regular candy.


Me: Nope, you’re done, they’re  bad for your teeth.  Enough.


Logical 8yo: Why, they’re chocolate?  The dentist said to choose chocolate over chewy candies, so they’re not really even candy.


Me: They’re still candy, it’s just less harmful to your teeth. (Why do I keep explaining?  WHY?)


Annoying 8yo: But, Dylan’s mom said they have nuts in ‘em which is good for you.


Me: Fine, go live Dylan’s mom.  I’ll drop you off with your candy.


Typical 8yo: AWESOME!


Now, I’m officially losing the battle.  I’m frustrated, flustered, and worn out.  The only argument I haven’t used is “If so and so told you jump off a bridge, would you?  And that’s only because I know it would be met with a resounding “Where and How High?!” Plus, I swore I’d never use such phrases!


Relentless 8yo: So, why can’t I have one?  Just one, only one little nut filled chocolate candy?  Please please please?




In that moment I realized I’d crossed over to the other side, I was officially a mother or my Mother, to be exact. Frankly that actualization wasn’t as upsetting as I’d anticipated.  No, it was freeing. I mean once I turned that corner a whole world of phrases were open to me like: “Don’t make me come back there,” and “I’m not asking I’m telling,” and “If you keep playing with it, it’ll fall off.


Me: Alright, kiddo, we’re done here, now go to bed.”


8yo: What?  Why do I have to go to bed, it’s only 8:45???  Jack’s mom lets him stay up until 9.”


The New Me: Sorry, as long as you’re under my roof, you’ll live by my rules …


8yo: (Eye-roll)


Thoroughly Content Me: Keep making that face and it’ll freeze that way.


Wow, I don’t need to have an original thought ever again!


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14 thoughts on “Dreaded Parenting Explanation: Because I Said So That’s Why

  1. racahel

    Another great article!
    I so appreciate you filling me in on the “because i said so”….you are SO right. I only use that phrase to end the conversation at hand…or debate!
    Lately…the electric razor has been a big discussion…so now i’ll fill you in on the news….MY kids are coming to live with YOU!!!!!!!

  2. Glynns

    My 8 year old daughter just entered the lovely phase of emotional extremes coupled with the constant verbal battles. So the other night when she was overly tired and not getting her way she kicked the bedroom door putting a nice dent in the wall. She was promptly sent to bed. We later found a note in her bed that said, “I have ran away.” We found her asleep in the guest bed. Classic! 🙂

    My line for no more candy is “Because I love you too much to let you have any more candy.” My daughter (if she’s not overly tired) will reply “Ahhh. When I have kids I won’t let them have too much candy either.”

  3. cherie

    I had to laugh out loud. I just lost this debate with the same 8 year old and actually asked him if so and so told you to jump off a bridge , would you? I hate to tell you what the answer was. Keep em coming…out of the mouths of babes.

  4. Bari

    This is priceless prof positive that kids are brighter than
    parents. Well, maybe not they’re just more relentless in
    their practice of logic. I love Glynns advice. It’s loving and
    apparently inarguable. ( the kids just run away until they
    get tired,come back, and adapt with a great philosophy of their
    own. Thanks so much for writing an article to which every
    parent can relate.

  5. Barry

    Frustrating, isn’t it? Part of the neverending cycle. My parents went through the same battles with me, me with my kid and my kid……. Someday, many years later, said child understands you were doing your best, usually as they’re encountering a bright child they’re trying to convince, or strongarm, trying to win their own non-defensible position.

  6. The Business Coach for Moms

    Sounds like you have bright rational children. The little neanderthal men over here aren’t so rational. “Don’t play in the toilet.” “Don’t lick the spilled milk off the floor!” “No you can’t climb on the roof and jump off.” “Please don’t swing on THE DANG ON REFRIGERATOR DOOR!!” Are all commands that are not debatable. They don’t deserve an explanation. There’s no argument to present. There’s no meeting ground. I ain’t trying to rationalize with them. And I will not compromised. “Do it because I said so. The End!”

    Once we had more than 3 children it just got to exhausting to try to nicely and intelligently rationalize with little beings that didn’t have enough experience in life to rationalize. I just couldn’t do it anymore! So I had to resort to the old school method of child rearing. It works…most days.

  7. rachy

    when you get frustrated with these debates, just remember: you’re grooming TGD for a lucrative career as a lawyer!!!

    your reward? someday you’ll be able to brag: “my son, the lawyer!” (isn’t that every mom’s dream?)

  8. Yeah...I know that one...

    ROFL! I’m 43 and have two sons. Cory is 23 and Cameron is 15 and lives with classic Autism. I still find myself telling my oldest ‘because I said so’ but at this point, it by no means indicates I have lost the battle. It simply means I have learned to pick my battles. I have officially raised a child and I am at an age where I am too tired to have this argument and I am not going to have it! My youngest, even with all the challenges he faces with Autism, thinks concretely and literally. Once I ask it of him, he does it and it is programmed in. There are no gray areas with this one. My oldest is about to move out on his own soon and with the way things are going with the girlfriend, karma will have it’s due and he will be facing the same down the road. lol! Yeah, I know that one!

  9. Michelle

    This is why I’m trying to get my 8 yr old a job in sales. They never accept just a simple “no” as an answer. We should be livin’ large in no time!

  10. Rachel

    I’ve started saying “because” and I hate it… memories of being frustrated with my mother when she wouldn’t explain why, but sheesh! the “why’s” never end!

  11. Insanitykim

    See I would have said, “because your teeth will fall out, but before that, one more chocolate will make your tummy hurt and you’ll throw up!” Then when they go to bed, fearful of vomiting, I eat the rest of those chocolates, just so I am sure the argument doesn’t start up again in the morning. And this strategy works, you know why?

    Yep. You guessed it…


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