Redirecting the Tattle Tale

If you are a parent, you have most likely experienced your child tattling on another. Children, especially older children, tattle to manipulate, control, get revenge, or get attention. Typically, tattle tailing exists between siblings due to feeling of sibling rivalry, but can exists anywhere in any situation with any person

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While some tattling can be helpful (a child has put himself in danger), a lot of it is not. It is important as parents to curb tattling that has gotten “out of control” and help our child express their feelings that really exist around manipulating, control, revenge, or attention in more healthy ways. Below are a few tips to consider when dealing with a child who is a tattle tale and methods to teach them healthier ways in responding to a situation they don’t particularly enjoy.

Tattle Tale Tip #1: First Assess the Situation

Before doing anything, assess the situation and determine whether or not the “tale” is warranted. Is there a danger you are being alerted to? Is the situation that your child is experiencing above his or her ability to handle without you? What is the mood of all parties involved? Sometimes you will be required to intervene if temperaments are getting hot. Regardless of whether you decide to intervene or not, consider that it is important that your child understand that they can come to you if they need you. Your job is to explain to them if the “tattling” is appropriate or not.

Tattle Tale Tip #2: Teach Alternate Ways to Cope

After assessing the situation, you may find yourself needing to teach your child another way to cope with a situation other than by running to you and tattling. You may want to role-play some scenarios at home and help your child to learn alternative ways of handling a difficult situation.

Tattle Tale Tip #3: Send Your Child Back In!

If you have determined that it would be unproductive for you to intervene in a situation and you feel that your child should be able to handle it on his or her own, give your child some options for handling the problem and send them back in to the situation. Stand back and observe and give positive reinforcement later for the positive way your child handled the situation.

Tattle Tale Tip #4: You May Need to Separate

If a situation is not going well, you may just need to separate the children who are involved in the situation for a while. Giving everyone time to cool-off may help plus offer you some time to discuss the situation with your child.

Tattle Tale Tip #5: Give Positive Reinforcement

When you catch your child handling a disagreement with another in a healthy way and without tattling, make sure to tell them how proud you are of them for the positive way they handled it and let them know you are proud of them. This tips is key to encouraging your child to continue pursuing healthy methods to handle a difficult situation without resorting to tattling.

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