How Do You Handle Tattling?

Posted on Jan 30, 2013 by 2 Comments
How Do You Handle Tattling?

If you have more than one small child in a room, there is going to be tattling at some point, whether or not they are siblings.

Is it something you should discipline for? Should you ignore it? Should you encourage it?

Well, generally it is a move designed to get favored over the other child, pure and simple. The thing is, there are times when it is important for a child to tattle, like if another child is exhibiting dangerous behavior.

It is important to teach that there is balance between just trying to get someone in trouble and allowing a bad situation to play out. This is how I have handled tattling in the past, and with eight kids I promise I have experience in it.

If it is a ridiculous thing, like Fred put the green block where the red block should be, then let your child know that that isn’t something that he should tattle about and let it go.

Ask your child to try to work it out themselves if it is a normal type of conflict. Do not get involved unless it escalates.

Dangerous or serious situations should be handled immediately, and the tattler should be commended for knowing when to tell an adult and when not to.

It is a really common behavior, especially up to about age seven or eight. If it continues after that point, I usually begin to discipline the tattler by giving them a time out or something like that.

How do you handle tattling at your house?

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc

Posted in: Parenting
Marye Audet

Marye Audet is an author, freelance writer, and editor. As a work at home mom she has a unique perspective that encompasses the overwhelming deadlines and commitments of the professional woman as well as the constantly changing needs of a homeschooling mom with a large family. She is the author of one cook book and the creator of Restless Chipotle Media, a network consisting of two food based blogs, a blog for “women of a certain age”, a video site on Youtube, and upcoming blog on kitchen decor, and downloadable eBooks. Marye also is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer.

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    I used to NOT discourage tattling because I can’t have eyes everywhere, and I guess I thought being a micro-manager mom was a good thing. But now I have one son who is constantly telling on his other siblings and seems to enjoy making negative reports about his siblings for even the smallest things. I am trying to gently discourage this behavior and wish I would have noticed it and nipped it in the bud early on. Now I have a negative Nancy on my hands. I hate the idea of putting him in the corner for it, but I definitely want to change this behavior pattern.

  • marye

    what about having a rule that for everything he tattles over he has to say one nice thing that his sibling did?