As a general rule, I support explaining my decisions to my kids. They want to know why, and I want them to know that usually, when I tell them no, there is an underlying purpose–be it safety, convenience, level of annoyance, etc.
However, I’m about to throw the towel in with this. The trouble with explaining things is that my kids have lately started thinking that if they don’t like my reasoning, they can ignore the instruction. For example, I was lying down with the baby, and he had just fallen asleep. Oliver walked into the room and said he wanted to come snuggle with the baby too. I told him no, because the baby had just fallen asleep and I didn’t want Oliver to wake him up. Oliver proceeded to climb into my bed anyway, and said, “Don’t worry, I won’t wake him up.”
The fact is, when I say no, the answer is no. I try not to say no too often, but when I say no, my kids don’t (shouldn’t) get to negotiate, or choose whether or not my reasons are good enough for them to decide to obey.
I realize as I write this that this is a pendulum type of parenting experience. Right now, the pendulum has swung too far in terms of the kids not listening until they are convinced. I need to push the pendulum back.
The rule has got to be that if I say no, or stop this, or do that, they listen. Later, when it is appropriate, they can ask why and we can discuss it. But first they have to listen. So I think that, for a little while, they aren’t going to get to know the reasons.