BECAUSE I SAID SO!!
The word authority is derived from the Latin word auctorita, meaning invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command.
At our house, the grown ups are the authority. It’s always been how I imagined being a parent would be. You know… the “because I said so” philosophy”. Now that may sound harsh to some but I have the advantage of seeing it play out over nearly 21 years.
“Because I said so” can be dismissive. Wait… it’s meant to be dismissive. It is said as a means to end a discussion with the speaker being the ultimate authority.
So think of how debilitating it would be without any lead up or prep time.
Wondering what the hell I’m talking about?
This is where “O.K. Mommy” comes into play.
When my girls were little, way before they could talk, at an age where most people think children don’t understand, I believed they were teachable. So I taught them. I taught them about concepts that were larger then them and they grasped those concepts. Not completely, but enough.
You know when they first learn how to walk and they teeter around just happy to be doing something new? It’s also about the time that they start picking up small pieces of lint or string and either putting it in their mouths or offering it to us, their mothers. During this time we find that our sophisticated, articulate self, spends most of it’s day saying things like, “yuck, blecch, we don’t eat that…”
Some of us take it a step further and add, “go put that in the garbage.” The first few times, we gently guide them to the trash and pry open their little fingers. As soon as the lint is released we celebrate like it’s 1999! Our little one feels pride and starts searching the house for more lint in order to reap the reward of pride again and again!
I took it one step further and added a behavior lesson. I added the phrase “OK Mommy” after I said, “go put that in the garbage.”
My words were, “go put that in the garbage. Say, OK mommy.”
They couldn’t speak a word! I was leading them to a behavior that I wanted them to learn and execute throughout their entire childhoods. “O.K. MOMMY!”
Quickly they learned to talk and quickly they began to use the well engrained phrase, OK mommy.
Pick up your toys. OK mommy.
It’s time for dinner. OK mommy
Wash your hands. OK mommy.
It’s time to leave the playground. OK mommy.
It’s bedtime. OK mommy.
I had taught my children that I was the authority with this simple phrase. There was an expectation on my part that they met and there was an expectation on their part that I met. No misunderstandings. It was simple. Not easy, but simple! Consistency is never easy.
As they got older… 12 -13 years or so, occasionally I had to add an extra phrase. It was a reminder phrase. It sounded like this,
“please fold this basket of laundry.
I’d like it done now.
I’ll do it at the next commercial.
No, I want it done now. OK MOMMY IS THE ONLY APPROPRIATE RESPONSE!”
and the 13 year old, with a small huff and a bit of an eye roll, says, “ok mommy” and the laundry is folded.
“Because I said so” and “OK mommy” are very similar. I prefer, ok mommy because as they got older it was a softer way to say, I mean business! Consistently creating an expectation of a specific behavior is what yields a specific behavior. It also prevents you from becoming angry, feeling a lack of respect from your children and being a mean mommy!
XO, The Rock n’ Roll Doula