Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Told You So

How do you feel when your children don't listen to you? Are you like me and think "fine, do what you want" and anxiously wait for the time to say "I told you"?

Example 1: You try to stop your kid from jumping off the table because he might hurt himself. He doesn't listen and keeps on jumping and then he falls. You quickly blurt out "see, I told you isn't it?"

Example 2: You tell your children to stop playing rough coz' someone will end up crying. They tone down for a second and then continue their rowdiness . Few minutes later one of them runs to you all teary eyed complaining what the other person did. Don't you justify yourself by replying "I told you this will happen right? Why didn't you listen?"

I'm sure there are many other examples you can add.

HOWEVER, what happens when the "I told you so" part never arises? Are you suppose to feel happy or frustrated? This was my little dilemma a few days ago.

You see, my girl just refused to open her school books before her final exams. I would say "don't you have exam tomorrow?", and she would say "yes" and then continue to do whatever. I tried to be direct by saying "why don't you go through your school books and revise the work you have done?", she would say "okay" and then continue to do whatever. I tried to urge her by saying "don't forget only if you get 1st or 2nd place will I take you to Sunway Lagoon" and she would say "ya" and then continue to do whatever. I didn't want to be naggy so my only choice was to wait for my chance to say "I TOLD YOU" if she didn't get good results.

Well, guess what? I never got to say "I TOLD YOU!" She scored 90+ in all her subjects and came out 4th in class. So, do I be happy or do I be frustrated? Happy because she did well; Frustrated because she may think she doesn't need to study for future exams. But you know what, I think the biggest frustration came from not being able to PROOVE I WAS RIGHT!

I guess such is human nature. We always want to be right. But seriously thinking, to be a good parent we should refrain from saying "I told you so" too many times. It is unnecessary and really just a show of power. We have to remember that sometimes experience is the best teacher. But when they fail, the right thing to do is be a support and not a prick.

It's going to be tough to bury the "I told you so" attitude. I know it will take considerable effort on my part because it's like a habit already. Good luck to me.


  1. Many parents like to use the word "I told you so" but I feel this will make the kids more frustrated. They are hurting and having bad time and parents didn't help to calm them or help them solve problem, but using those invisible killing word "You never want to listen to me, I told you hundred times already". Guess we will never happy to hear it ourselves.

    Maybe we could try another way to remind them not to repeat their mistake. Tell them nevermind next time don't do that again, next time be more careful. Just my 2 cents :)

  2. Your children are very cute.

  3. The trouble with "I told you so" is that it assumes children have any memory whatsoever of anything you have said to them!

    You know what I'm talking about. Here's a sample conversation:
    "Go clean your room. That means pick up your toys and put them in the toybox, put the dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and put garbage in the garbage can."

    ... 10 minutes later... nothing in the room has moved...

    "Why aren't you cleaning your room!"

    Answer... "huh?"

    I told you so has no possibility of working on little people whose cerebral cortex is not firing properly.


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