Can You Say "I Told You So"?

Dear Lisa,
My sister has been hanging out with a bad group of people, and now she is going to go out driving with some of these boys. She's my younger sister, so after she told me this, I threatened to tell our dad if she went. She then decided to stay home.Later on that night, we find out that the car of people got into an accident and my sister's best friend almost died. As her older sister, should I just let the situation go like nothing happened, or should I tell her I told her so? I care a lot about her and I want to make sure my intentions are in her head, but I also don't want to make her have negative feelings toward me.
Scared in Mississippi

Dear Scared,
I am so happy to hear that your sister is okay.  You should be proud of yourself that you obviously had a very direct impact on your sister’s welfare.

I can understand that you feel protective over your younger sister, and I commend you for taking the initiative toward keeping her safe.  I can see that you would be tempted to bust out an “I told you so” – anyone would.  However, you have to understand that your sister (who I assume is a teen) is in a rebellious stage right now.  Telling her “I told you so” will only make her more inclined to resist rules.  Teenagers generally don’t have thoughts like, “My big sister was right before, so I should probably listen to her.”  They think, “There is a party tonight, and I want to go.  I don’t care what anyone says.”

The best option for you at the moment is to continue with the way you’ve been going.  If you like, check in with her about this recent incident.  Say something like, “Do you understand now why I didn’t want you hanging out with that group of people?”  If she does, then try to get some kind of agreement from her that she’ll be spending more time pursuing friends of a higher caliber.  If she argues with you and says this accident wasn’t their fault, then be prepared to make more threats to be going to your parents with this information in the future.  But for now, lay low.

Keep in mind that your sister is primarily looking for two things in her life right now: attention and acceptance.  She will rebel against anything that distances her from either of those two qualities.  Encourage her to join you and your friends if they’re doing something cool.  Bring her to the mall to go shopping.  Accentuate the positive, and perhaps she’ll stop spending time with negative people.

Best of luck.

Feel free to email me at with any of your questions!  Have a great weekend!


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