It is REALLY challenging to refrain from uttering these words when someone who seems to insist on being right all of the time ends up being wrong about something … again. A perfect example just happened this week. I had asked my husband recently to make sure whatever beverage container he put his drink into gets put on his placemat and not directly on the wood table. He insisted that there’s no way his thermal cup could leave rings on the table due to condensation. Theoretically, they are not supposed to, and most of the time his don’t, but I know I have picked up at least one of the ones he uses before and found a ring on the table more than once and would rather be safe than sorry. I thought it was a pretty simple request, but he made a big deal about me asking him to be more conscious and treated it like it was a ridiculous request. Sure enough, I picked up his cup the other day to clean the table and found a small puddle of water underneath it. This was right next to the partial burn ring on the table that was left by him putting a relatively hot bowl of rice there after I asked him to put it on a hot pad instead, and he insisted it would be fine.
I don’t know if it is so much that he doesn’t want to be wrong or just doesn’t want me to be right about anything, but I’m guessing it’s both. He doesn’t usually utter the words, “You were right” or, “I was wrong” and seldom apologizes in situations like this, at least not without it sounding like it is a struggle to do so or that it is sarcastic rather than sincere.
Unfortunately, these are just more bad examples being set for our kids. I get debates from them as well whenever I make suggestions as to what they should and shouldn’t do, based on either experience or my anticipating things that could happen, yet no one seems to believe that I might actually know what I am talking about. Oddly enough, we HAVE had a badminton racquet stuck in the tree when one of the kids tried to get a birdie down by throwing the racquet towards it, and one DID hit my son in the face when he threw it up in the air and didn’t catch it in time. His brand new remote control toy DID get stuck in the neighbor’s tree about 50 feet up where he couldn’t reach it and had to hope it would blow out of the tree and get returned (He lucked out big time with that one!). The kids have all missed the bus or forgotten to bring things to school with them because they didn’t get everything ready the night before like I suggested. And the list goes on and on. Not only do the kids not think I know anything about anything, which I suppose is pretty normal at their ages, but they respond the same way my husband does when it turns out that I actually did know what I was talking about.
I wouldn’t mind so much being completely ignored so much of the time if there wasn’t SO much resistance to the idea that I COULD be right and maybe every once in a while I heard, “Hey, you were right” or, “I should have listened to you” or at least got a sincere apology for having created more work for me or having to inconvenience me for a ride or for bringing something they forgot over to the school in the middle of the day. I wouldn’t expect the kids to do this on their own necessarily without it being suggested to or modeled for them as these things come up, but it sure is more difficult to get the message across when they don’t have the good example being set for them. Once, just recently, my son did something the way I suggested after first trying things his own way and then said, “I took your suggestion.” I made him repeat what he said because it will be a long time before I hear that again. But maybe, just maybe, there is hope.
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