Oh, how tempting it is when we have correctly foreseen the future to rub it in a person’s face when they didn’t believe us!
But what does saying “I told you so” really communicate?
I’m smarter than you.
You screwed up.
You should listen to me more.
If you just did as I said, you wouldn’t be in this mess.
So often I hear people say that making mistakes is how we learn, yet when someone does make a mistake, we pass judgment on them instead of celebrating this opportunity to learn a better way. We say we want kids to be independent problem-solvers, and then we turn around and tell them they should just do as we tell them.
When I screw up, I really don’t feel the need to have others point it out. I’m pretty aware of how I messed things up. Most of us are pretty good at beating ourselves up.
How many times do we lecture kids about things they already know? It’s a rare child who steals, lies or hits because they think it’s right. If you give kids the opportunity to explain, you may find that they were trying to get something they wanted, avoid getting into trouble, or trying to stand up for themselves. Usually, we don’t need to focus so much on why what the child did was wrong. What s/he really needs are strategies for how to solve the problem they are facing in a more effective way.
What I really need when I’ve made a mistake is someone to understand that it was not my intention to mess things up. I was trying the best way I knew how. I didn’t choose my actions for no reason. I thought it would work out better.
I need someone to help me figure things out. I don’t need someone to make me feel badly.
Our children are no different.