Remember The Days Of “Because I Said So”?

BY: - 13 Oct '11 | Parenting

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Reed between the lines

I am one of millions of people longing for quality, family television that shows African Americans in a positive light. We aren’t expecting the characters to be perfect, but we do expect them to be real, not stereotypical caricatures. Good television entertains, teaches, and inspires. The new original sitcom on BET “Reed Between the Lines” has the potential to do all those things. I definitely plan to keep watching to find out if it will. By the way, thanks BET, the writers, producers, and cast for attempting to bring dignity for African Americans back to television.

And, thank you for confirming something for me personally: my husband and I are a little too lenient with our 5-year-old. Our daughter isn’t as bad as little Miss Princess on the show, but she clearly knows how to express herself and advocate for what she wants, even after mommy and daddy have made a decision. I realized something was off when my husband and I took our daughter to register for Tae Kwon Do.

My parenting lesson began when Ms. Kim, the Tae Kwon Do instructor asked me, “What day would you like to come for the trial class?” I thought about our busy schedule and settled on Wednesday. It was Monday, so we just had to wait two days. But for a 5-year-old, two days is an eternity. Immediately, my daughter who was clinging to my side, started to whine and complain about having to wait. Instead of me saying, “We are coming Wednesday and that settles it,” I kneeled down to her level (that was good parenting, right?) and began to negotiate with her. Uh oh. . . that was not good. Here I was, a grown woman going back and forth with a 5-year-old about what day to take Tae Kwon Do.

It gets worse.

Ms. Kim (who, I am now afraid of) says very sternly to my child. “Obey. Your. Mother.” My heart stopped and the hair on my arm stood at attention. Case closed. I signed the papers, paid the $20 fee, got my “baby’s” uniform and left. Everybody was happy in the end, but I left wondering what in the world was I doing to my child. Although Ms. Kim was reprimanding my daughter, I felt like she was reprimanding to me too. Why did I feel the need to negotiate with my child? She can’t drive. She’s has no money. And she doesn’t have any authority to make any kind of major decision whatsoever. How long would I have stood in the lobby going back and forth with her about Monday or Wednesday, Monday or Wednesday? Her dad was there, but he negotiates too. We both need to change.

We believe a healthy self-esteem for our child and in allowing her to express herself. But something is wrong when parents and children starting communicating like they are the same age. I had to check myself. . . actually, Ms. Kim checked me.

So, somebody please answer this question for me: What has happened to the days of “Because I said so?” I heard it growing up, and I am pretty sure the majority of the folks reading this are familiar with the parental edict that means no talking back, no asking questions, no trying to persuade me to change my mind. We are doing XYZ because I said so. Period.  This doesn’t mean a child doesn’t have a voice in the home. However, it does mean the child is the child and the parent is the parent. I know now that what happened at Tae Kwon Do should have been a “Because I said so” moment.

I’m so glad my child is taking Tae Kwon Do. The structure and discipline will be good for the entire family. Actually, they have a family class we are seriously considering. Don’t get me wrong. Our daughter is a really good girl. She is well-mannered and super smart. But I think parents today, including me and my husband, might be overindulging our kids in some areas. The pilot episodes for “Reed Between the Lines” confirmed that for me. Just because we want our kids to have more opportunities than we did doesn’t mean we can slack when it comes to teaching them respect for authority. There was a reason our parents and grandparents made “Because I said so” an integral part of our growing up. Sure, it kept us from getting whippings, but it also taught us that sometimes we just can’t have our way.

That’s life.

Was “Because I said so” a part of your childhood? Do you use it in your parenting today?

About the author

Dr. Michelle Johnson wrote 75 articles on this blog.

Dr. Michelle Johnson is the founder of Alabaster Woman Ministries, an online international women's ministry. She is a wife, mother, writer, speaker, teacher. Through her daily blog, online radio show, and video Bible studies, Dr. Michelle encourages women and married couples to make God the center of their lives.


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48 WordPress comments on “Remember The Days Of “Because I Said So”?

  1. LaDonna Ross

    As a mother of a 14 year old daughter   and a 7 year old daughter, I realize that the oldest knows what “Because I said so” means however the 7 year old really pushes the envelope with us.   I am realizing that we (my husband too) can’t pull the “I’m tired card”, we have to raise the 7 year old as we have the 14 year old.   It has been a struggle because old habits are hard to break, but this article confirms what we need to continue to do.   It is certainly working and I’m thankful to God for it.   For the most part our girls are very well mannered, they sometimes try us (parents) as we tried ours.   Thank you for sharing.. Blessings~LaDonna  

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson


      Sounds like you all are great parents. I pray at 14 our daughter respects and obeys us. I realized just this week how, if we don’t get a hold of it now, the chances are she will continue to try us even more. It’s a delicate balance for sure trying to make sure our kids express themselves and are independent, yet at the same time are obedient and disciplined.  

      My daughter is an only child and only grandchild. She gets indulged to the max. Whew!! But it’s a learning experience.  

      Good to hear from you on BMWK.  

  2. Rhonda J. Smith

    I am guilty of negotiating at times, Dr. Michelle, then I audibly say “What am I doing?” turn to the child and say, “Because I said so.” I’m trying to find the consistent  balance between explaining when necessary so the child can understand a decision and just making a parental edict when I know they are just trying to get their way. Thanks for getting us thinking. This was on point.

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson

      You are welcome Rhonda. I like how you said we need to help them understand certain decisions. That’s how they learn to make good decisions when we aren’t around. Our little people can be fierce litigators, can’t they? And they know how to push us.  

      Took Khayah to Tae Kwon Do on Wed. That’s NO JOKE in terms of discipline and respect!!  

      1. Rhonda J. Smith

        All of  my sons  can be fierce and working with them in this area can be tiring.  Learning discipline and respect are key to them learning not to talk back. I think you have hit the jackpot  with having Khayah in Tae Kwon Do. As you said, it’s going to help all of you. We’ve been talking about putting our sons in some form of martial arts. Reading your article has got me thinking about it again.

        1. Taleia Thomas

          I also would love to consider putting my daughter in a martial arts class as well. It would be great for teaching discipline, responsibility and healthiness.

        2. kenzie

          You should definitely enroll your sons in   Martial Arts. It will be life changing experience for them. Little do people know…I  practiced Tae Kwon Do from the age of 3 to my teen years. Those were the best times! (If you put them in Tae Kwon Do be sure to allow them to fight in tournaments)

  3. Tonya Charles

    Well I am mean then. Because I don’t negotiate with terrorists, and children (when allowed) can wreck havoc with emotional terrorism. I don’t negotiate in general with anyone who has nothing to offer in return. Consistency is key with kids. I’ve been guilty of going soft; but I quickly realize the damage being done and get back to business.

    But I have been told on occasion that I am the mean parent. But I am also the one people ask for parenting advice from.

  4. Taleia T.

    I find myself doing the same thing sometimes. My daughter is an only child and while she is well-behaved and mannerable, I find that I give her choices and I don’t even stop to realize it. Everything from what she wants to eat for dinner to what she would like to wear. Sometimes I have to stop and check myself and realize that a 3.5 year old doesn’t really know what she wants and would function much better if we tell her what she needs and making sure that she understands that while I love her and will protect her, I am not her friend, but her parent and so her telling me she is not my friend anymore when she doesn’t get her way, does not mean that she can have ice cream and skip dinner. I’m glad to see that other parents have gone through this.

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson

      Oh boy. You said something there. You are a parent and not a friend? There are some parents who pride themselves on being friends with their kids. I didn’t grow up around that so I have no evidence that it works. Possibly?  

      We have similar experiences. I am learning to find a balance but leaning more to the discipline and direction side.  

  5. kenzie

    It only takes one word to describe Tae Kwon Do. That one word is “Discipline.”

    I pray she learns the self defense tactics   : 1. Avoid not to hurt. 2. Hurt not to main. 3. Main not to kill. 4. Kill not to be killed.

    Motivate her to stay in it. If there are tournaments …let her compete. Learning forms and basic movements will not prepare her for a real fight! I’m so excited for Khayah! I really hope she likes it.

    Great post!

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson

      Thanks so much Kenzie. Yes, yes on the discipline. I think Tae Kwon Do should be a part of schools. It’s fierce. Just one lesson and I already see a difference. Mommy and daddy are maturing too. I already had to tell her she can’t do it on the playground. 🙂  

  6. kenzie

    It only takes one word to describe Tae Kwon Do. That one word is “Discipline.”

    I pray she learns the self defense tactics   : 1. Avoid not to hurt. 2. Hurt not to main. 3. Main not to kill. 4. Kill not to be killed.

    Motivate her to stay in it. If there are tournaments …let her compete. Learning forms and basic movements will not prepare her for a real fight! I’m so excited for Khayah! I really hope she likes it.

    Great post!

  7. Ronnie_BMWK

    Nip it in the bud right now… :-)!!! You are on the right path.   Lamar laughed when he saw this article because I had a “because I said so moment” with my 18 year old yesterday. Everything is a negotiation with that child and I had to break it down and say “Because I said so”

    I am trying not to go down that path my 3 youngest kids.

    It is one thing to explain to a is another thing to have to negotiate.   Some things are non-negotiable.  

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson

      Not only am I nipping, Ronnie, I’m chopping. Gonna have to get the grandparents on the same page because she spends a lot of time with them and they are super indulgent. I think they are afraid to lay down the law.  

      Hubby and I started yesterday. Consistency is key and we are in it for the long haul.  

  8. Steven Scott

    As a father of a newly minted 6 yr old girl, I’ve found myself trying to ‘reprogram’ my daughter as to when she can express herself and when not to.   Like  most parents, we’ve chosen to  teach her that her say does matter and how to  deliver it, but now she has  more opinions so she has more to  say. So we can’t fault her for using what we’ve taught her.   We’ve found ourselves using the ‘I’m not going to go back & forth with you’ line.   So  I think its good that  she has the self esteem to give the  opinions now its just a matter of us teaching her when they’re appropriate.  

  9. Steven Scott

    As a father of a newly minted 6 yr old girl, I’ve found myself trying to ‘reprogram’ my daughter as to when she can express herself and when not to.   Like  most parents, we’ve chosen to  teach her that her say does matter and how to  deliver it, but now she has  more opinions so she has more to  say. So we can’t fault her for using what we’ve taught her.   We’ve found ourselves using the ‘I’m not going to go back & forth with you’ line.   So  I think its good that  she has the self esteem to give the  opinions now its just a matter of us teaching her when they’re appropriate.  

  10. Heavenwbc

    You’re not alone! I have seen some of my friends handle their kids like they are delicate flowers and all those  kids are sooooo annoying with the whining and debating! I HATE to see a grown person debatin with a child. If a child is debating with u at 5… what kind of convo will ya’ll be having at 15?!?  I handle my 6 and 3 year old daughters like they are 17 year old boys. You do what I say… when I say it… as soon as I say it… simply cause I said it. Get in the bed. Get in the tub. Put the candy down. And those things need to be done with 4 seconds of me completing my sentence. That sounds harsh… but i balance all that out with LOTS of love, praise, encouragement and FUN…. so they are never afraid of me and always come to me in any situation. The world is raising a whole bunch of punks and whoosies today. DOn’t be part of that statistic Ms. Johnson!!

    1. Dr. Michelle Johnson

      Your first three sentences are the reason why my husband and I are taking a firmer stance. We will not raise an overindulged, whiny child who thinks she has to get her way all the time. We will talk to her and help her gain wisdom, but some things will be non-negotiable. A healthy balance.  

  11. Danielle McRath

    loved this article! My husband and I are in our 30’s. We have four kids and have been parents since we were 18 years old. It’s funny when people see us interact with out kids because we don’t play lol. We are very old school and will let our kids know their place in a heartbeat. This doesn’t mean they cant express who they are…they just know the right way to do it. People say that my kids were in bootcamp when they were younger and I used to get offended but now when I am complimented by their teachers becuase they say yes ma’am and no ma’am or my favorite when we are eating at a resturant and people come by to compliment their behavoir, that lets us know that we are doing well and I thank God for teaching us how to parent our kids. The one thing my husband and I  hate to see is a child disrepecting their parents. Because I said so is alive and well in our home and it’s understood,.

  12. Rscottjr

    Im clearly in the minority here, but I always thought “because I said so” demonstrated a complete lack of reasoning ability in my parents. This opinion didnt carry  any weight in the houshold and was never verbalized (or else  a swift backhand would follow), however I believe that children model the behaviors they see and the ability to articulate and reason beyond “cuz I said so” is an important skill I hope my children develop.

    Although it would be easier for me to just say “cuz I said so”, I believe this is lazy parenting disguised as discipline. My goal as a parent is to teach my children how to think on their own and  to behave in a manner  consistent with the values  I believe will make them the best person they can be. This requires taking the time to develop an understanding why we do the things we do, so that in the future they will be able to make wise and/or well thought out decisions on their own.

    “Cuz I said so”-parenting is why we scratch our heads when someone who was supposedly “raised better” does things that are so contrary to how they were raised or  why kids who were forced to go to chuch never go back as adults. If this causes me to appear a weak parent to a stranger at a karate class, then thats a sacrafice im willing to make, doing what I believe to be in the best interest of my kids will always trump public perceptions.

    1. Danielle McRath

      Saying “Because I said so” doesn’t mean that a parent is lazy or uninvolved. Children have a place and should know their place. This isn’t mean its simply means that parents don’t answer to children and are not their friends. My children are well balanced and well loved but they are far from perfect just like my husband and I are and as we have seen their faults we have seen theirs. But that does’t place them on our level as parents. There must be a reverent fear in children of their parents. This doesn’t mean they run in fear or shutter in fear this means they know their is a level of repsect that must be given to their parents. I am 33 years old and there are still things I dare not say in front of my mother or any older adult for that matter because I was taught to respect my elders and not question them. Questioning authority is what is really wrong with the world today, people don’t want anyone over them to tell them to do anything and this is sad becuase ultimately everyone answers to someone. The best time to be taught this is when we are children. You have to agree that there are extremes in parenting, some parents are too lax and some parents are too strict, there must be a balance. My kids know that I am doing my best to raise them in the right direction. If they chose not to follow behind that then they know there are consequences. As far as blaming our parents for our behavoir based on our up bringing that’s an excuse for being a lazy adult. Church is important but a person must develop their own relationship with God. You won’t be able to stand before Him and say you didn’t have a relationship with Him because of your parents because you knew the truth and you rejected it and I don ‘t mean you specifically I am just making a generalization. What’s good for one isn’t always good for another but in the end, children now days needtheir parents to be their parents not their friends.

  13. Sherease

    My husband and I have two boys, ages 8 and 10.  We choose to say “This is non-negotiable” as opposed to “Because I said so”.  It may be the same thing, just worded differently.  We prefer to say that because it lets our children know we respect their feelings and value what they have to say, but that there is a distinct difference between what is negotiable and what isn’t negotiable.  My husband and I are entrepreneurs so the way we see it, being able to negotiate is an extremely important skill to learn and what better training ground than with us…lol!  When we say “This isn’t negotiable” they know that means there is no discussion, to be quiet about it, and just do as we ask.   There is definitely a delicate balance and what works for one family may not be what works for another.  It also depends on the age of the children.

    What does “because I said so” really teach them?  I believe there are other ways to teach respect for authority other than by just saying “because I said so”.  We believe that if you instill values and teach them to make conscious decisions in line with their values  then they learn to think for themselves, reason, and make decisions in line with what they value versus “because I said so”.  As they get older and the influence  of peer pressure gets stronger,  we don’t want them to make decisions based on defying “because I said so”, as a way to exert their independence, we want them to make decisions in accordance with what they value.

    Here is a personal testimony.

    My 10 year old son made a conscious decision to write on our freshly painted walls this evening and got caught in the act by his dad.  We used that moment to teach yet another  lesson in respect and integrity.  He didn’t respect his room and he didn’t do the right thing when he thought no one was looking.  The consequences for his actions are that he has to write a paper.  He has to define respect and integrity,  why it is important to be respectful and have integrity, and  explain what it means to him and how he should have applied it to this situation.  Not only does he have to write it but he has to type it and present it to the court of Mom and Dad.  Our hope is that this will stick with him and be more of a lesson learned that he can apply to other situations as he gets older.  I told him when he was 5 not to write on the walls “because I said so” and I strongly feel that “because I said so” is the reason we caught him writing on the walls tonight…lol!  He did not align his actions with the values that we are instilling.    

      1. Sherease

        Yes, I understand your point.  Every child is different and there is no one formula so finding what works best for your family can be extremely challenging and the equation is ever changing as we grow as parents and as they get older.  

  14. Nia/ Chic Working Moms

    Great read! I’m also pretty new school in my approach to my daughter. Being raised in the South there were a lot of   things that kids couldn’t say/do or you’d be  seen as disrespectful  or talking back and a backhand would follow. lol  My goal is to teach my daughter to question authority when necessary and in a respectful way. It’s ok to ask questions because that’s how you learn. That was definitely what I did and still do when I’m uncomfortable. I’m not a fan of “because I said so” because I don’t feel like it teaches the objective or reasoning behind the argument.

    I   believe strong reasoning skills are essential in life as is high self esteem. I don’t want my children to feel they have no right to an opinion or feeling because they’re smaller than I am. I want them to know we can agree to disagree but I’m the parent at the end of the day. I’d rather give them a reason so they know WHY i feel the way I do and that I’ve actually thought this through and I don’t want you to do something because it’s unsafe, rude, mean, disruptive, destructive, etc.

    I like the previous commenter’s “This is non-negotiable” phrase a lot better and  I  think I will  use that when I’ve given my reason and they still  continue to hound  me like kids will do.  I want my children to be free to be angry and express her emotions. My husband is all the way from Mississippi old school so there is a balance between the two of us so it’s worked out great so far but we’re still pretty new into this parenting thing.

  15. Pingback: Remember The Days Of “Because I Said So”? | Black and Married With – A Positive Image of Marriage and Family « wtpdiaries

  16. Briana Myricks

    I grew up with “because I said so” and I do think it needs to make its way back. I’ll be using it when I have kids. There’s no back and forth after that. I don’t know if it’s that I just couldn’t come up with a response or if there’s truly no response to it hahaha.

  17. Sweetangel4985

    i really have noticed that i and many other parents use because i said so when we realize we are starting to become wrong or we say “thats it” when we realize we are losing a fight. so i beleive its wrong to say because if u tell a child not to touch something what are they going to do? well they will probably touch it as soon as you turn your back because so matter what kids will always be a little rebellious at times. plus when you say “because i said so” it makes them more angry and more rebellious torwards you. if you dont explain why and then tell them they have to then they are more likley to pull a tantrum and start to be more bratty torwards you. like if you say take the garbadge out and they say “ugg why” then you say because otherwise it will pile up and be worse for you later when you have to  take it out  so just do it now then there will probably be a better outcome because i remember when i was younger thats how it was for me and when my mother said because i said so i  would freak out and start to really hate her and when i was lets say  throwing out garbadge then i would do it slow and unproperly so really i think because i said so is wrong to do

  18. Joyce

    I am a home day care provider and I notice parents negotiating with their children more and more.  In fact, I started doubting myself when it came to discipling other’s children.   One day, as I was trying to sit and reason with a 2 year old—because that’s what all the training I am receiving has taught me to do– a little light bulb went off.   I looked at her, thought to myself “she is 2” and told her in a stern voice, “because I said so.”   I found this blog because I was curious if anyone else has gone back to the “old way” of doing things.   I have decided that on some issues we can talk, but on some there can be no comprimise.   I am responsible for the children I have in my care, and “because I said so” has halted lots of unwelcomed behvior and would be injuries dead in the tracks!

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Disney Living Challenge Week 5: Eat More Fruits and Veggies

BY: - 13 Oct '11 | Parenting

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Here’s a news flash: Most kids don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. I know what you’re saying… you could have figured that out on your own right? Well they don’t so as parents lets talk about what we can do to make sure they get enough in their day. Lamar and I try to stay conscious of how much fruit the kids are eating and I always make sure to include veggies in our dinner when I prepare the meals (getting them to eat it may be another thing). We’ve also steered the kids towards eating more fruit when they get home in the afternoons and want a snack. Their snacks used to be things like chips and cookies but we’ve changed that around quite a bit.   Now I make sure I pick up extra apples, oranges and pears whenever I make a trip to the grocery store. In the end I think what’s important is that we instill in our kids the habit of eating healthy with fruits and vegetables while they are young so that’s something they carry with them when they leave home as well.

If this is an area that you’re having trouble with don’t worry, our friends at Disney Living have a great lineup of products featuring their characters that will get your kids excited about eating these foods.   Below are some tips for this week’s challenge and a few of our favorite Disney Living products that we think you should try. When you’re done reading our tips let us know if you have any in the comments section.


  • Presentation is everything so make a plate of fruits and veggies look attractive for kids to try
  • Replace traditional play date or party snacks with festive food like a Disney themed-bouquet of fruit
  • Grab a juice box with your kid’s favorite characters on it ““ they’ll have so much fun they won’t even know it is also nutritious



Crunch Pak Apple Slices

We all know how important it is for our kids to eat healthy snacks but it’s not always the easiest thing to do.   These Phineas & Ferb Apple Slices are an easy snack to pack for the kids. Eating apples has never been more fun!

$2.99-3.99 at select grocery stores nationwide


3 Tummy Ticklers

These delicious apple and fruit juice drinks sport more than 30 different toppers ranging from classic Mickey & Friends to “Toy Story” characters. They’re the perfect solution to encourage kids to incorporate more fruit into their diets.

SRP: $2.99 at Walmart

5 Edible Arrangements’ Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party Bouquet

These unique fruit arrangements boast fresh pineapple, strawberries, grapes, cantaloupe and honeydew arranged in keepsake Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Disney Princess-themed carry-all containers. Try one of these “bouquets” at your child’s next birthday party and see how surprisingly festive fruit can be for kids!

SRP: $45.00 at Edible Arrangements stores and


6 Insignia Sandwich Bags, Snack Bags, Lunch Bags and Ice Packs

It’s not just the food that keeps kids excited about lunchtime.   Help animate their snacks and keep things fresh with bags and ice packs featuring their favorite Disney characters.

SRP: $2.00/each at grocery stores nationwide


You can visit the D-Lightful Living page on Disney Living Facebook to find out information on each weekly challenge including tips and information about relevant Disney-branded products to help succeed with each challenge. You can also follow Disney Living on Twitter.

Disclaimer: We are blog ambassadors for Disney Living. In return for the work, time and effort that is required to be an ambassador for the brand we are compensated (these kids cost money) and have received products for review. This in no way influences any product reviews or recommendations. If we don’t use it for our kids we won’t ask you to use it for yours.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 527 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.


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