3 always give reasonsI don’t know who first said this, but it’s a good principle: “Rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” It’s a great reminder for those of us who tend to be more task-oriented than people-oriented.

Having a relationship means having conversations where reasons are shared along with rules. There are times when “I’m the parent and you need to obey me” is a valid reason during emergencies. However, this should be an exception, not a frequent approach to correction.

Kids love to ask “why?” They want to know the reason for doing or not doing something.

I’ve found that my son always responds better when I give him the reason for an instruction instead of just telling him what to do. This has the added benefit of teaching principles at the same time.

For instance, I don’t just want my son to avoid touching the stove. I want him to know that touching hot things will hurt him so he should be careful around anything that looks hot. Understanding the reason helps him obey the rule and apply the principle to other situations.

This also keeps us accountable as parents. If we can’t explain why we want our kids to do something, perhaps we need to rethink what we are asking them. It also keeps us talking with our children and shows them that we value and respect them enough to explain our instructions.