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2 Bumps

to let her tattle or not...

My 4 year old daughter has a "tattle tale" problem... she tells on her little brother for EVERYTHING ( that he is looking at her wrong, that he is touching something even if it is something is he aloud to touch, pretty much every thing he does she runs and tells and acts like he needs to be in trouble ) .... So I mean we do not want her to do it because it just isnt nice and I can imagine when she starts school next year it would be hard to make friends because she will always be telling on them ( she also does it when we are around other kids) ....

but then there are good parts of it too... the other day at my moms while I was talking to my mom and letting them play my daughter told me he had a marble in his mouth - which he did ! ( and he is usually good about not putting things in his mouth) ....

So i dont know how to explain to her the good kind of tattling and the bad..

Any ideas ?

Answer Question

Asked by 2lilbumblebees at 12:27 PM on Nov. 22, 2010 in Parenting Debate

Level 17 (4,121 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • I need help with this too. Great question!

    Answer by Jademom07 at 12:30 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Explain that when someone can get hurt is when you tell an adult. If it isn't dangerous they don't need to tell. That's best way I can describe it to my 1st graders. We also teach the kids how to tell someone "I don't like that" when someone is doing something that bothers them. This way they can take care of many of the problems themselves.

    Answer by skittles1108 at 12:34 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • How do you respond to her tattling? When it is for something serious, is she generously praised & told why it was a good thing she did? Like when she told you about the marble, did you tell her that her little brother could have choked & telling you was a good thing? And when she tattles about stupid things, like he looked at her, do give her a very matter of fact answer of how her brother wasn't doing anything wrong or dangerous & then ignore her? Or do you give her lots of attention for it, even if it is a scold? Sometimes kids who tattle are doing it because they are looking for parental approval &/or attention and they'll take it any way they can get it, even if it means getting in trouble. If you don't give much attention to her undesireable behaviors, then she may stop doing them because there's no "reward" for her anymore & balance it by giving her lots of attention & praise for desireable behaviors so she keeps them up

    Answer by mom2aspclboy at 12:37 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Start to teach her when to tell and when to work it out on her own. You TELL when someone is or could get hurt. Everything else you work out. My dad's rule was that we both got in trouble. The person who did the thing wrong and the person who tattled. Unless you told for the right reason we would think twice about what we ran to dad with.

    Answer by Niki_sd at 12:51 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • They have this problem in my kids 1st and kindergarten class. All the kids know that they aren't allowed to tell the teacher unless they have already told the other child 3 times. They understand this rule doesn't apply to something really dangerous but it has lessened the amount of tattling and gives the other child a chance to correct their behavior before they get in trouble. It works at home to I have a lot less of she touched me, she did this stuff.

    Answer by jen699 at 12:56 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • When a child "tattles" to get a sibling in trouble, give the tattle-tale the same punishment for telling on her/his sibling. "Johnny gets a time-out for ________, and you get a time-out for telling on your brother!"

    It worked with my sister and I!

    Answer by GoodyBrook at 1:11 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Our kids are only allowed to tell on another child if they are doing something that is dangerous (to themselves or others)

    Answer by riotgrrl at 1:38 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • I would describe the good kind when the tattling tells of impending danger of some sort, and the bad one is getting someone in trouble for silly stuff that does not concern her.

    Answer by older at 4:59 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • Give her examples of "good" tattling and "bad" tattling. Make sure that she knows the difference by the time the conversation is over. In a week, re-visit the conversation and see how much she retained.

    Answer by _Tam_ at 6:25 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

  • When I worked in a daycare we had a big flower that was painted on one of the walls. If a child was tattling to just tattle and no one was in danger of getting hurt, we would tell them to go tell the flower. It really seemed to solve the problem. We explained good tattling and bad tattling. When they came and told us that someone hurt so and so or someone was doing this and was going to fall, etc. we really listened but if it was petty little things we just said "go tell the flower." Perhaps there is a stuffed animal or something that she could tell every little detail of her brother's moves too?

    Answer by JamieLK at 10:53 PM on Nov. 22, 2010

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