Tattling among school-age children is common and kids usually tattle on their peers at school and siblings, sometimes even a grown up or their own parent. It is very important to understand why your child may be tattling or why they feel they must be an informant. Tattling isn’t a fantastic trait to have as a child grows up as it can lead to isolation and create difficulties when it comes to building trusting friendships.
Many times children will create friendships and then have someone upset them, only to make them tattle on each other. Most of the time it is trivial and over minor issues such as taking another classmates crayons or saying a bad word, but if tattling becomes something your child does often, it is a good idea to look at the reasons why he or she does it and then try to stop it from happening in the future.
It is very important that we teach our kids to speak up and alert an adult if someone hurts them or if someone is in trouble, but there is a difference between tattling about another child’s every move and reporting a dangerous issue that could cause harm. When your child feels that tattling is an acceptable and normal thing to do, it’s time to put a stop to it.
Make Your Child Aware of the Consequences
Put your child in the situation. Ask her how she would feel if every time she made a mistake, someone reported it to an adult or teacher. Let her know that if she is tattled on for making a mistake she could get in trouble or might be embarrassed in front of her classmates. How would she feel if that happened? Sometimes children need to imagine what it would be like and realize how it might feel bad, before stopping tattling on others.
Avoid Rewarding for Tattling
When your child tattles on her classmate or on her siblings, avoid reacting every time. Sometimes children just want to see their big brother get in trouble or they want that girl that they don’t like in their class to suffer. Stop before reacting to what he or she has told you about and think about why they are really doing the tattling. The more you reward every tattletale, the more your child will keep doing it.
Kids often feel like they should report other people when they are not following the same set of rules as they are. If your child says, ‘she stepped out of line and let go of her buddy’s hand,’ remind your child that unless that person is in danger, you do not need to know about it. Remind your child that it isn’t their job to be the boss of others and that she or he should let others be unless there is something dangerous happening.
How do you stop your kids from tattling? Let us know!