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What is the best way to deal with tattling??

Both my 5 yr old son and my 3 yr old daughter tattle on each other constantly. I don't want to take sides, but I also don't want bad behavior to go unpunished. I don't want either of my kids to think that if it happens behind my back, then I won't act on it.

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Asked by brandyj at 12:02 PM on Dec. 23, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 21 (10,228 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • Try a Two Tattle Rule... they each get two tattles a day. The first time they tattle, let them get it out of their systems. Don't interrupt, just let them finish. The second time they come to tattle, remind them that they have only one tattle left for the rest of the day. Ask them if they want to waste it on whatever they were going to tell or save it for something more important. Once the two tattles are used, no more for the rest of the day. When they come to you to tattle, tell them that they have used up all their tattles and will have to save the rest for tomorrow. When tomorrow comes, I doubt they will remember what they were going to tattle the day before. Be VERY consistent with this and DO NOT allow more than two per person per day. They will eventually learn that you are not going to tolerate tattling.

    Answer by neebug3766 at 12:08 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • My kids do not tattle one each other for anything so I have no insight. I wish they would let me know when one of them is doing something particularly mischievous. The last persons suggestion is a great one.

    Answer by Melbornj at 12:14 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • Why is tattling a bad thing?

    If someone has done something naughty, then there should be concequences. If you ignore it, then they'll see that bad behavious has no concequences and keep on doing it.

    Answer by Piskie at 12:28 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • Because it's whiney.... "Moooooooomm!! Becka has my tooooyyyy!" "Mooooommmyyyyy!!!! Jacob hit me!!" (Which I can't prove) Etc...

    Comment by brandyj (original poster) at 1:14 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • The kindergarten teacher had a good way of preventing it. She said "If there's fir or blood, tell me, otherwise, I don't want to hear it" I thought that was pretty cool. If someone is being hurt, or there's danger, otherwise work it out. I would usually just listen, nod and say "really?' or "I guess that made you sad" and then go back to what I was doing. That usually placated the injured party, but I didn't have to get in the middle of "He hit me back first!" twenty times a day. Eventually, they learn to stop coming and tattling so often.

    Answer by SweetLuci at 1:52 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • Don't stop the tattling. It may be annoying but trust me as a mother who had 4 children close in age, not stopping tattling benefitted me when they were all older together (there's 5 years between the 1st and 4th). Had I discouraged tattling I am sure there are a lot of things that my sons wouldn't have tol us about but because they knew that it WAS okay to tell on their brothers...A) their brothers didn't do much wrong because they knew their brothers WOULD tell and B) when there was something worth telling us our sons told us, with no fear of punishment.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:12 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • I agree with SweetLuci. I am surprised that so many encourage tattling. The less you respond to them, the more they will learn to work their problems out with each other. I totally agree that there should not be any violence allowed, but just because they are telling on each other does not mean that you will know what really happened or that you will be perfectly fair. I love the book "Siblings without Rivalry". The premiss is to teach them how to understand each other and let them work as much as they can on their own. I think those would be better skills for kids to have outside the home than tattling skills.

    Answer by christinab313 at 6:26 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

  • My kids are all teens now and we always had a rule that they couldn't tattle unless someone was being hurt. It took a few years to work out that someone grabbing your favorite toy is not hurting you. You just take it back from them! Anyway, you don't want to encourage tattling because it quickly becomes a "He Said, She Said," kind of thing and very, very whiny.

    Answer by ceallaigh at 8:08 PM on Dec. 23, 2010

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