My perspective on raising kids is based in surrounding them with a set of conversations that enable them to believe in themselves and have a sense of how to be great in the world.
Today, let’s highlight one conversation that we just need to hit the delete button on each time we’re tempted to say it:
“I told you so.”
Just don’t say it. You do not want to go there.
There is simply no value in making that statement. In fact, there’s real harm in it: It discounts the other person and creates a disconnect in your relationship. And more importantly, if you don’t say it, the conversation has a chance to go someplace new!
A young man shared this story after we talked about “I told you so” in class.
Last night my fiancée was driving and took a wrong turn… For the first time ever, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t correct her. Usually I straighten her out in a heartbeat, and then we are off to the races, repeating an argument we have way too often.
Last night I didn’t say a thing, and here’s how the conversation went:
Fiancée: I just think I made another wrong turn.
Me: It’s okay, we’ll get there.
Fiancée: Should I have taken the other turn?
Me: Well, might have worked better if we had. But no harm, we can get there from here. Actually, we can get there from anywhere!
It was wonderful and so simple!
When you make someone wrong, they are likely to take it personally and no longer be available to input or clear thinking. When we get defensive, we lose our sense of perspective.
A few other candidates for automatic delete would be these:
Why did you do that?
What were you thinking?
How many times do I have to tell you?
Go gently out there,