Tired of hearing your child tattle? Say a simple "thanks" and end the conversation.
Tattling can drive adults--especially parents and teachers--to desperation. It seems endless, and kids get ridiculous with their perceived slights. Another form of sibling rivalry, children tattle to get attention, sympathy or simply to get someone else in trouble. It can be tempting to discipline or even punish your kids if they continue to tattle after being asked to stop. But being consistent while keeping your cool is the key to nipping that bad behavior in the bud.
1Explain to your child that reporting--getting help for someone--is allowed. However, tattling--saying something to get another in trouble--is not. Use a few examples, based on their age and understanding, to make sure they know the difference. Make sure your child understands that she will be heard if someone truly needs help.
2Ask the child if she is reporting or tattling when she attempts to tattle. This allows the child to reason out her own behavior.
3Avoid getting upset at the child when she tattles. This is a form of attention that can reinforce the tattling behavior in the child. Refuse to react in any emotional way to the tattle.
4Refuse to give the tattler any sympathy or attention. After the tattle is made, simply say "thank you" and return to whatever you were doing when the child approached. If she repeats the tattling statement, again say thank you and offer nothing further. If necessary, walk away from the child or out of the room to reinforce that the conversation is over.
5Teach your child skills in working out her own problems, preferably at a time when she is not upset with the other child. Role play situations where she can memorize some positive responses to use when she is angry. Or talk about how she can speak up if she feels someone is being unkind to her.
- Reward kids for not tattling with a small treat if they make it through the day tattle-free. Display a chart where kids can track their progress throughout the day.
- Don't punish the child for tattling, as she may decide to refrain from talking about more important things for fear of being ignored.