An interaction in a parenting group I’m in reminded me of a very simple parenting technique that I just did naturally, my mom just did naturally, and various other parents I’ve run into do naturally, but isn’t the norm. It isn’t even what many otherwise-perfectly-lovely people do with their kids.

And it’s this.

When you make a rule or decision about something that affects your kids (or even if it doesn’t!), explain your reasoning behind it, rather than just saying “because I said so” or the like. If you don’t have time to explain right away, tell them so, and then explain as soon as it’s possible.

This simple (so simple) technique bears fruit immediately.

Once your kids understand why you make the rules and decisions you do, they learn how to make good decisions themselves. They learn reasoning skills. They understand you and your priorities better.

If they know you have logic behind your decisions, they’re much more likely to go along with them without (as much?) complaint. And, if they’re well-behaved, they’re well-behaved out of understanding, not out of fear.

When you parent with an expectation of blind obedience, wanting your kids to behave and do what you say no matter what, but not explaining yourself, you may have compliant, well-behaved kids, but they will behave out of fear. And, once they are adults, they may very well avoid having a close relationship with you.

If you want to have an ongoing meaningful relationship with your kids after it’s their choice whether to spend time with you, create those bonds and connections from the start (or start as soon as possible), and involve them in your thought processes.

Kids shouldn’t have to recover from their childhoods. Thanks to all the parents out there who parent gently. (Especially my mom!)

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