Disagree - only because, growing up, it pissed me off SO BAD. I've always considered myself fairly rational, and giving me an actual explanation helped me to understand why I got the "no," and move on. Telling me 'because I said so!' always made me feel like I was just being blown off.
I agree with jess - they should do as I said b/c I said it - yes. Do I explain why - sure. But they should be able to follow instruction, without explanation in case there is an emergency.
Even in driving, I've come upon incidents where extra care was needed - I've told the kids to "Be quiet" I expect them to obey, I don't have time for an explanation at that moment. If (more like when) they were unable to obey - they were scolded afterward.
I have a child who is very interested in rules. He is autistic and knowing what the rules are helps him function. Explanations definitely help. On occasion I do the "Because I say so," but things work better if I explain my reasoning. Once a definite rule has been explained and established, my son usually follows it to the letter. (He will think of very creative ways to get around it, I have to be pretty thorough in my explanations)
Once kids get to an age where they can understand a rationale, I think reasons for rules should be explained. I don't want a robot, I want a kid who understands and buys into the rules, it makes for a much easier life and a happer house in general.
My mother, who was my role model, disliked it when she heard other moms say the "because I said so." To summarize her theory, if you do not tell a child why the behavior needs to stop, then the child is doomed to repeat it or some similar behavior without understanding the risk of damage or harm. She felt there should be reasons for rules, made plain to those expected to follow those, or else the child isn't learning anything (discipline) except that the adult is the blind authoritarian.
I voted "it depends" however.
While I agree with my beloved and late mother, and have generally followed suit...I found that as my oldest segues into puberty that explanations aren't really on her agenda. She readilly nags and wants to ignore my logic, as she is at an age where she feels her logic is best. So, I will explain once and if she argues the point I will tell her "because I said so." Due to this becoming more frequent, I'm about ready to not even get into explaining at all. I think at this age, explanations open doors for negotiation, and my rules aren't usually negotiable.
It depends, and I think the age and stage are good guidelines as to whether or not things need explanation.
Unless it is an emergency or a safety issue, then I say you owe your child an explanation. I have found that when you tell them why, they understand better why you do things the way you do and they are more likely to listen to you now and in the future.
Agree... IF you don't ever want your kids to learn to make good decisions for themselves.
So basically, I disagree :)
I believe in explaining to my kids why I made the decision I made, so that they can better understand the logic behind the decision. Sometimes I cannot give a why right away, so I tell them that we can talk about it later, and that's usually enough for them.
I don't think it's ever really okay (IMO) to say "because I said so and that's the end of it, period, end of story." There is always a reason for decision making, and it's important for kids to understand.