Say goodbye to tattling. Most find this an annoying childhood ailment and believe that children only tattle to manipulate, to get revenge, to exert power, or just to get attention. I am here to set the situation straight or maybe give you another perspective. What if, you have a child or group of children that are trying to understand right and wrong, need help problem solving and learning how to be a social being.
But, we are teachers and we take the job very seriously and we want the children in our care to become healthy social-emotional children. Also, tattling may just drive you crazy. Let’s take this from a teaching aspect. There are things we want our children to tell us:
1) I need help because I don’t know how to handle it.
2) I already tried to handle it and it didn’t work.
3) I might get hurt (or others might get hurt) if I try to handle it myself.
There is a great articles about tattling: To Tell Or Not To Tell: The Dynamics Of “Tattling” by Mary Beth Hewitt, here she gives a completed list of why children tattle. Telling Tales by Marjorie Ingall, gives some very thought-provoking ideas on the social impact of tattling. For our discussion and age of children I will let you do the extra research yourself.
In the group I have now, tattling was out of control. I had tried every technique in the book, including the one that I learned from my Conscious Disciple course. This would be to ask the child who is tattling,” are you telling me this to be helpful or hurtful?” Another version would be, “are you wanting me to help Mary? or do you want Mary to get in trouble?” Of, course I have very honest children. ”In trouble” they would say! Well that is a whole different subject right there. Please, one social-emotional challenge at a time.
So, I did some observations for about a week. I then decided that my tattlers’ are not trying to be hurtful, but helpful. They had a great understanding of the rules and are trying to enforce the rules through tattling. Well, since I am the sheriff I think it is time to deputize some help.
Everyday, I would go over the things that are important. I want everyone to be safe, if something is unsafe or someone might get hurt, I need to know. From there, we made our own deputy badges. Then each day we continued to talk about, what they could do to help me. Like real deputy’s they are here to be a good citizen and help those in need. We talked and practiced many different scenarios from hitting, knocking over toys, taking toys and an endless amount of other topics. Some, they came up with themselves.
We practiced and practiced. Now, I have a deputy force that, has a good idea of what is right and wrong. How, they can better help themselves and other. We still have some tattling, but it is more manageable, and the children understand exactly what tattling is.