Cost of Being Right

Have you ever tried to reason with a child that thinks they know everything?

I would venture to guess that every parent has experienced such an event. Where do children get this stubbornness from and why must they be so unwilling to change their point of view? I remember when my daughter was 7, she got on the Justin Bieber band wagon however, she constantly referred to him as Justin Beaver. No matter how many times I corrected her she refused to listen. She was right and I was wrong, what does dad know anyhow?

Children can develop a “know it all” mentality at a very young age and they can become upset if challenged. It is difficult for them to see things from another perspective, especially since they are so absorbed in themselves. As parents, we can expect this to some degree. The child is asserting their individuality and independence but the problem occurs when the behavior is carried into adulthood.

I think one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is to argue with their child about what is right and what is wrong. Often, it only makes matters worse and it teaches them to arguing is okay and usually whoever yells the loudest wins. Some things are worth letting go and sometimes it takes a third party to come in and say, “It is Bieber not Beaver.”

Children are different and we want them to grow up with their own opinions but we don’t want them to be so entrenched in their beliefs that they never look at things from a different point of view. Consider the old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Why anyone would want to skin a cat is beyond me but at some point it must have been a popular thing. Regardless, there is usually more than one way to get things done.

As our children mature they should grow out of the need to be right but if they don’t you need to examine why they haven’t let it go. First start by looking at your family dynamics, do you have the need to be right? Are you and your spouse constantly arguing about who is right and wrong? When we get older the need to be right may indicate self-esteem issues or low self-confidence. If you want to change this behavior in yourself or your children it needs to be understood that there is a cost involved with always being right. When we come across as a know-it-all we alienate people and eventually become isolated.

Begin breaking the cycle in your child by looking at how you interact with others. Imagine how it must feel to be in their shoes and see things through their eyes. Is there anything that you could do differently? Look for opportunities to teach your children that being right all the time is impossible and that it is okay to say, “sorry” from time to time.

Being righteous and being self-righteous are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The difference is; being full of one’s self or doing the right thing. Teach your children the difference and that they can choose how they are going to live. There is a cost of always being right and it’s up to each individual to decide whether that cost is worth it.