Every parent gets tired of answering the “why” question. That is especially true when the child is questioning why they have to do something they were told to do.
• Why do I have to brush my teeth?
• Why do I have to go to bed right now?
• Why can’t I sleep over at my friend’s house?
The questions mount up atop frayed nerves. It happens to all of us. And at some point, we finally snap. We give the only answer that we can think of at the time: You have to do it because I told you to! The moment it slips out, you immediately know that it is a bad answer, and the wrong lesson to teach.
It suggests that kids have no agency. It also implies that might makes right. You’re strong. Their weak. You win. Like I said, we all have done it. And that is just one of the reasons why we should give in and let them win on occasion.
They should know that they do have agency. And it is sometimes okay just to do things because they said so. You don’t want your children to feel powerless in a world where they have no say. Here are 5 things it’s okay to do for your kids just because they want it:
1. Seamless Underclothes
Nobody likes seams in clothes. One of the tricks that separate professional seamstresses from amateurs is that a professional can sew or knit clothes with tiny seams. Those clever folks at SmartKnitKids have found a way to make their socks and underwear with no seams at all.
Many kids have trouble putting on and wearing traditional sock and underthings because of the elastic, the bunching, the binding, the pinching, and irritation. Eliminating that source of irritation may not have been possible for your parents. But it is possible for you. Besides, getting kids up and dressed can be hard enough. Why not make the experience a little more seamless?
2. Fast Food
Maybe it is because of the clowns, the play area, or the toy surprise in the box. But whatever the reason, kids love fast food restaurants. And why you should not make a habit of it, there is nothing wrong with indulging on occasion. You can also use that occasion to spend time with the kids that you would have otherwise spent cooking. Afterward, you can walk in the park instead of watching TV. Occasional treats are beneficial for everyone.
3. No Crusts
For some reason some kids just don’t like the brown, outer crust on a slice of bread. You can do your best to convince them that it is the best part of the bread, and where all the nutrients are hiding. But try as you may, they are never going to eat it. You could have this argument with them until they are 18. Or you could just cut off the crusts. It just might be the thing that gets them to try eating healthier sandwiches. Removing the crusts is an excellent compromise.
4. An Extra Hour
So why exactly do they have to go to bed by 8:00? Sure, not getting enough sleep can leave them feeling wrecked by morning. But that in itself is a good lesson about consequences. If they are watching a show that runs a little late because of the football game that preceded it, there is nothing wrong with letting them stay up to watch the show. A little lost sleep will not stunt their growth.
5. An Explanation
It is good that they want to know why. We should provide kids with an explanation as often as we can. There are good reasons why they should go to bed at the same time most nights, and avoid fast food most of the time, and eat the crusts and skin, and wear what they have. Rather than leave them hanging, you could give them a reasonable explanation for all those things. But always leave room for exceptions. Because kids are people too.