Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tattletales Occasionally Appreciated

If you have more than one child, chances are you've heard the tattling.

"No tattling!" becomes the mantra and rule of many who spend a good bit of time around young children.

I began that way, too, but it was the addition of my 3rd child that made me rethink the "No tattling" policy.

No mama can be everywhere all the time, but especially a mama of 3 or more who is out-numbered may begin to realize that the extra eyes of siblings combined with their loud voices that are perfect for announcing situations in need of attention can be used for good. And that hmmmm, maybe tattling is needed sometimes!

For example:

"MOOOOOOM, he's coloring on the wall again!"
Good to know! (My 3rd child was the king of toddler antics!)

But, then there's the tattling that is not good to know, "She's looking at me!" or, "He's not sharing!"

So, I realized the rule "No tattling" was not working for me, because there were times I did want my kids to rat our their siblings.

So, the rule was changed to "Tell me if they are hurting someone or hurting the house, otherwise use your words and work it out yourself."

When my kids come to me with a tattle that doesn't fit the criteria (which there seems to have been a resurgence of lately around here), I ask, "Is that hurting anyone? or hurting the house?" Usually after a few days of repeating the question several times they realize what is and is not going to get my attention and the annoying tattling dies down.

Do you have any tricks for handling tattling and harnessing the power of those little eyes for good?

Find more of the special themed edition What Doesn't Work for Me Wednesday here.


  1. Yep ours changed a few months ago from "No tattling" to "No tattling unless something is broken or someone is bleeding!" My kids would recognize colored walls as something broken! ;)

  2. i agree. i always say if the person is not in pain then i don't need to know about it. hurting the house makes sense too. i remind them to work it out themselves.
    my oldest out of three is the worst at tatteling.
    happy new year!


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