Dobbers, tattlers & tell tales.....
- Posted by:
- Michael Grose
‘Mum, Sam hit me and I didn’t do anything!’
‘Dad, Gina hasn’t done her homework and she’s watching TV.’
“Sergei spilt the milk and he hasn’t cleaned it up.’
Children take great delight in getting a sibling into trouble. This is more so, in families, where children compete for parental approval.
When a child draws parents’ attention to a sibling’s misbehaviour, she is really saying, “I’m better than they are. I wouldn’t behave like them.”
Kids who regularly tell tales don’t want to put a stop to the behaviour which they are drawing to your attention. They just want you to know about it.
Responding to children’s tales encourages sibling rivalry as kids become involved in a subtle game of one-upmanship. Getting even with a dobber can also become an obsession for some kids.
Pay little heed to children’s tales.
Tale telling is often an attempt to draw you into children’s disputes. And don’t they work as the ‘good parent’, comes to the fore and wants to solve kids’ issues.
Here are 3 ideas to help you deal with tell tales effectively:
1. Only listen to tales that are written down, rather than verbal stories. This has a profound effect on the incidence of tales that kids tell. Give one child a pen and one a piece of paper and invite them to sit down and write out what they want from you. This often stops tale telling in its tracks.
2. Tell them you’ll only listen to one story so they had better go away and work out a story that they both can stick to. This is the start of the conflict resolution process.
3. When a child has a legitimate gripe about a sibling use an I-message such as “You sound pretty annoyed about that.” Then ask him or her what needs to be done next, opening the door for them to fix their own problem. The Problem-ownership principle is one of the ten Thriving! parenting principles outlined in my latest book Thriving! That is, she or she who owns a problem solves the problem.
Tale telling is an example of kids getting their parents to resolve their sibling relationship problems. We need to make sure they resolve their own problems themselves.................without telling tales.
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