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6 Reasons Tattling is Positive

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6 Reasons Tattling is Positive

I realized the reason I was always stern with my daughter about tattling is not because it’s a bad thing….it’s just simply annoying. And I know most parents try to eliminate anything that’s annoying. Yet kids tend to tattle when they are overwhelmed by a situation that seems out of their control. Depending on the type of situation—such as when your child is being bullied—tattling can also reveal something that may be very important for you to know.

Here are 6 ways to turn the annoyance of tattling into something positive and educational:

  1. Think of the millions of children around the globe who have been sexually assaulted, bullied by a classmate or witness to a crime who didn’t tell their parents out of fear of being punished. It is so important that we always keep the lines of communication with our kids open and never punish them for anything they might share with you. Say to your kids often, “You can tell me anything.”
  2. Use tattling as a great learning/growing experience to help your kids learn how to stand up for themselves. When Billy comes running to you and says, “Mommy, Zach pushed me.” Instead of saying, “We don’t tattle!”, say, “Well, what should you do when someone does something you don’t like?” Billy: Stop it. I don’t like that. “Exactly. If it happens again tell Zach to stop.” Then watch your child’s confidence boost.
  3. I tell my kids, “The first time someone does or says something hurtful, learn to handle it yourself. If the person does it again, then go tell a teacher or parent.” Why? Because if a child is being a bully, he needs to be disciplined. The only way a child can be corrected is if an adult is made aware of their behavior.
  4. If you find a certain playmate is not playing well with your child, then simply stop playdates with this child. When I was a young mom I would schedule playdates with any child my daughter wanted to play with. But too often the playdate turned sour when my daughter was hit, scratched, bit or called “stupid” by the same 2-3 kids. I have learned that there are too many wonderful kids who play well with my children, why spend time with the ones who don’t?
  5. When you catch your kids sticking up for themselves without being coached by you, congratulate them! (“Billy, I just saw how you told Zach to stop when he just pushed you. Great job protecting yourself. High five.”
  6. When your kids share something personal with you, thank them for coming to you (as insignificant or annoying as the issue might be).
Kate Raidt Kate Raidt is author of The Million-Dollar Parent: How to Have a Successful Career While Keeping Family a Top Priority and founder of advantage4parents.com. She is also an alumnus of the Southwestern Company's summer work program. Kate is also the mother of two young children.
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