You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly. Philippians 4:8
I promised myself a long time ago I would never be a “because I told you so” mom.
“But Mom, why can’t I play that video game?” Because I told you so.
“Jada’s parents let her watch whatever she wants. Why can’t I?” Because I told you so.
“Because I told you so” seemed like cope-out parenting. It was a phrase parents threw around when they couldn’t think of a good reason. So they pulled rank with a dismissive “because I told you so” just to keep from answering questions.
I know now that an occasional “because I told you so” is well within reason. After all, we don’t have to justify our rules to our child. A reason isn’t something we owe them.
But it IS true that pairing a WHAT (guideline or rule) with a WHY (reason) goes a long toward helping the guidelines you give them “stick”.
That’s the case when you’re setting down rules for what movies they watch, video games they play and general screen time. Giving them a solid reason will help them understand that you’ve put some thought into your rules. That your guidelines aren’t random or “just because.”
One unique way to do that is to have a family taco night. Here’s how it works.
- Set out tortillas and bowls with all the taco fixings—creamy guacamole, pulled chicken, chunky tomatoes, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.
- Include one bowl of something disgusting (not something your kids thinkis disgusting, like brussel sprouts, but something inedible like crushed leaves, empty gum wrappers).
- Have everyone build their tacos with whatever they want.
- As everyone is eating, offer to sprinkle some of the “inedibles” on top of your child’s tacos. [Note: You can gently tease younger kids. For older kids, skip this and just casually make your point below.]
- Why didn’t you take any of these?
- Want some? Why not?
- It won’t change the taste of your tacos. It’ll give them extra crunch.
- Just a little won’t hurt.
“God is so good! One of the ways he shows us his goodness is by giving us guidelines to protect our minds. Philippians 4:8 tells us God longs for us to fill our thoughts with what’s true, right, pure, and good. When I give you rules about what Netflix movies, video games are/aren’t good, I’m just following up on what God said. My job is to help you protect what goes into your thoughts by keeping the “inedibles” out and the good stuff in.
“So the next time I say “Hmm, I don’t think that’s such a great Netflix movie to watch”, be thankful that I care and God does too.