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Dealing With a Tattletale

For some children, tattling and telling important information to an adult can seem like the same thing. Learn how to help them understand the difference and what the consequences should be for tattling.

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[MUSIC] For many parents, tattling tops the list of their most annoying child behaviors. Kids tattle because it works. Once that they find that 70% of tattles got a positive response, in terms of attention, or acknowledgement from an adult. Tattling may be an intermediate step for kids when they have enough self control not to hit the other kid, but not quite enough skill to be able to solve the problem on their own. [MUSIC] Around kindergarten or first grade you can start trying to explain to your child, the difference between tattling and telling. Telling is when you're trying to be helpful. When someone is going to get hurt, or something is going to get broken. Tattling means you're trying to get the other person in trouble. Tattling is very common amongst siblings and what they're trying to do is pull out the big guns, get you on their side, so what I recommend in this situation is don't get sucked in. Your child comes to you complaining about the terrible thing that the sibling did, say, oh that sounds really hard, do you need a hug? In general, when your child is tattling, you wanna encourage them to handle the situation on their own. So you can ask them is something getting broken? Is someone getting hurt? Have you tried to handle the situation twice on your own? Or we might say, I'll take care of that, you don't need to worry about it. [MUSIC]