So I recently had a week off of work and was able to spend considerably more time with my kids during the day (as opposed to the brief moments of evening contact which I generall get with them during the week).
There were several occasions when I asked them to do something and they stated that they did not seem to think that the occasion merited their instantaneous attention. i.e. I said,”Clean your room, please.” and they said,”I don’t wanna!”.
When this happens, I generally pull rank and explain that my age and experience have afforded me the luxury of an overriding vote on the matter due to a level of knowledge which they have not yet attained; that they should just go do the thing since I felt it was important to be done. In other words, I asked that they obey me.
During conversations with other parents I have often heard that teaching children to obey, without question or delay, is difficult but necessary. A good child is also an obedient child.
I have, with reservation, often agreed, in principle, with the sentiment; but I can’t help wonder if by teaching children be obedient, if we are not impairing their critical thinking processes in the long run.
I can think of several instances where disobedience was a virtue and necessary, specifically several instances of civil disobedience.
I have, after much thought, decided that I want my children to obey me not because ‘I said so’, but because of some sort of thought process. Perhaps, they will defer to my judgment due to a lack of experience on their part; maybe it’s because the obedience is really just sticking to the terms of an agreement, or something more along those lines of reason.
I want (and to a limited extent, encourage) my children to question why they are asked to do the thing, but somewhere inside that process,I hope, they rely on reason rather than strict observance of the rules of obedience.
I guess, in truth, I’d just like to avoid the use of ‘because I told you so’ completely.
…but sometimes, it’s hard.