Matthew 5:37 (NJB) "All you need to say is Yes if you mean yes, No if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the Evil One.
I love this verse and it applies to many areas of our lives including parenting children. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave his disciples what is without question the most important of all leadership principles. Say what you mean and mean what you say!
So in parenting do your children know that your word can be relied upon, that it is the law? Do they know that beyond a shadow of a doubt when you say YES you mean nothing short of yes? Then also when you say NO do they know you mean NO?
When you tell one of your children that you expect him to do something, does he absolutely know that he is going to have to do it, that you absolutely WILL enforce your instructions? If you can answer that question with a yes then your child indeed knows your yes means yes. On the other hand, have you given your child reason to think that if he stalls long enough, complains loudly and dramatically enough, or begins to argue you may give up and do it yourself? If that is the case, then your child has learned that your yes really means "I wish you would".
When you tell your child that you will NOT let him do something he wants to do or give him something he desires, does he absolutely, without a doubt know that you mean what you have said? If so then your child has learned that your NO means No. Or does he believe that if he argues, cries pitifully, or begins ranting raving, and raging you are likely to give in, if not completely, at least partially? If that is the case, then you have taught your child that your no does not mean no but it means "I'd rather you didn't", I'd rather not or "Please don't make this difficult, okay?"
As the parent the problem is you not your child and you are the one who has to say what you mean and mean what you say and apply Matt. 5:37 to your parenting.
And as the parent you do NOT have to explain your position. If you need to say something make it short like 1) you're not old enough 2) you might get hurt 3) we don't have the money or won't use money for that 4) we don't have the time or we won't take the time for that 5) we don't believe in that and last 6) we don't like those kids. With your short answer to them be done turn around and leave or go back to what you were doing but continue to engage or argue with your child.
This is where "Because I said so" comes into play. You and your spouse are the leaders in your house and if you say what you mean and mean what you say, then because I said so is all your children need to know and they will know as well that you are serious and it is the end of discussion.
Do effective leaders do much explaining when it come to their decisions? NO, they do not. That is because leadership demands decisiveness. When people in leadership positions begin giving explanations, they look less decisive.
So this week work on your yes being yes and your no being no and don't get into the habit of explaining yourself especially to a 2 or 3 year old :)
This information is brought to you by "Parenting By the Book" by John Rosemond a must read for every parent.