Monday, November 30, 2015

What Would You Do If Your Child was a Tattletale #Parenting

tattle tale whisper

Photo Source: Ronnieb

Every night, for the past three years, when I tuck The Kids into bed I ask them “What’s your Favourite Part of the Day?”. The responses have ranged from funny, silly, illogical and just plain incorrect. No matter the answer, it gives me a few moments to truly connect with each child. Today’s answer gave me mixed emotions because both The Kids said that their favourite part of the day was…

Telling on the other kids.

Here’s how it goes down.

Max, Artemis or their Friend (there are three of them involved, all close in age) says “huddle”. They get into a huddle and look around to see who they’re going to “watch” (a.k.a. get in trouble). Today they found three occurrences that warranted telling the person on duty*. One kid got in trouble twice. Apparently he was playing “battle ship” (which I guess isn’t allowed, I don’t know what it is) but it turns out that they were actually playing tag (who knows).


Photo Source: Taliesin

After listening to The Kids share more details about their outdoor policing sessions, I felt that I had enough information to ask some questions.

I started by asking them what they would think if someone watched them for a while, waiting for them to do something wrong and then running to report it. Max’s response “We never do anything wrong”. While I doubt very much that he’s right, I didn’t know what to say to that.

I then asked if the things that the other kids were doing that they felt were wrong was an “emergency” or something where people could get hurt. Max’s response “Well, they were breaking the rules.” Alrighty then.

No one likes a tattle tale and based on what they were tattle taling about, I’m sure that the duty person was less than pleased with their constant reports. Not to mention the kid(s) that were “getting in trouble”**

A part of me is worried for The Kids. Worried that the others will catch on and gang up against them.

A part of me is embarrassed that I’ve raised kids that are such rule followers and,

I wish that a part of me was proud that they are rule followers.

What Would You Do If Your Child was a Tattletale?

* A Volunteer Parent, Teacher or School Staff Member.
** My understanding is that with situations like this, the Duty Person simply talks to the child and no further consequences come from it.

10 thoughts on “What Would You Do If Your Child was a Tattletale #Parenting

  1. Shelley N

    I had this issue with one of my sons. I told him that it was all right to tattle if someone was getting injured i.e. another kid beating up another or a child climbing up the wall to get on the roof but not to tell the person on duty if it was breaking rules but no injury was likely. It was not their job to be the policeman in the playground. The person on duty is paid to watch for that kind of thing. Minor rule breaking should not be discussed with the duty person. He got much better after that.

  2. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    It’s not an easy situation. Mine used to tattle tale on each other sometimes (not too difficult when there are so many, someone is always doing something they shouldn’t be doing) I too explained to them that this wasn’t acceptable behaviour, telling tales was bad. Trying to make them understand why was tough though since I did want them to tell me if something was harmful or dangerous. In the end they got it but it wasn’t an easy subject to cope with.

  3. loriag

    I think life lessons can be the best teacher sometimes. They will figure this out as they grow older and people wont appreciate their actions. I would rather have kids tell than not, so stopping them isn’t always a good thing either.

  4. KD

    My daughter is a rule enforcer – partly because of her young age, partly because of her personality. I’m not sure how to handle tattling yet — still trying to figure it out!


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