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Does tattletaling make you exhausted?


First of all, it’s normal for kids from ages 3-5 to tattletale! At that age, there are no shades of gray. Everything is just right or just wrong!
The good side of tattling is that your child is showing her moral compass—that she knows right from wrong. The difficult part of it is that they don’t know how to deal with situations themselves and can’t resolve conflicts on their own. This is where some teaching begins!
Kids this age don’t have the judgment of what is safe and what is not safe. They see it more as right or wrong! They may not see that their sibling climbing up to get a razor out of the medicine cabinet is unsafe but they know it’s wrong. But then they see the same “wrong” when their sibling took a doll out of their hand. Wrong is wrong to them!
Before you reprimand your child for tattling, find out what’s going on! Sometimes the tattle may help another child from hurting themselves so you want to praise them for doing the right thing. This would include telling them that it’s important to tell a grown up when someone is doing something dangerous. This is all “teaching” them when it’s important to tell someone. To them the razor situation may not have appeared dangerous, but it definitely was wrong! They will slowly learn what’s dangerous and important to tell you about.
Tattling can also happen when a child is really puzzled about another child’s behavior. Some children aren’t sure of what to do when another child pushes them or pulls a toy out of their hands. So what may look like tattling, may just be asking for help. More teaching here! This is the time to empower them and give them the words to say (asking for the toy back, or taking turns or even playing with it together). This is the beginning of learning how to problem solve. As this skill builds, what seems like tattling will decrease.
It’s important that your child know that they can come to you with a problem and you won’t ignore it!
There are always some children who tattle and have a “motive” behind it! Sometimes it’s for attention and other times it’s to “look good” in the eyes of an adult! Children of this age also tend to exaggerate their story and you may end up unfairly disciplining another child.
If your child is tattling frequently, the easiest way is to hear what they have to say and then ask, “Are you telling me this to be “helpful” or “hurtful”?” Often, after realizing that they aren’t getting the attention that they want for tattling and they have to answer for it, it often starts of diminish.
The tattling stage can last for about a year, but during that time you’ll be teaching problem solving skills, what’s dangerous and what’s not and some other moral lessons along the way!

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