Tattling gets a bad rap. No one wants their child to grow up to be a constant tattler. But, kids need to know when telling on someone is an act of love and when it is an act of betrayal. We need to teach them. In my house I have 3 "Tell- Not Tell" Questions to help my kiddos decide when they MUST tell, when they can CHOOSE to tell, and when they should NOT tell. They are to ask all three questions to decide what to do.
1. Is it true? [Do they believe that the information they are thinking of sharing is true?]
NO? Stop right here.... do not tell.
YES? Go on to question 2.
2. Is it kind? [Is the information they are thinking of sharing kind, complimentary or, good news info?]
YES? You may tell. [ Only if the information is verypersonal or private does someone usually object to good things being shared.]
NO? Go on to question 3.
3. Is someone's health or safety at risk? [Will the information help someone stay safe?]
NO? You may choose to tell if it passes questions 1 & 2 .
YES? You MUST tell a person in charge. Better to lose a friendship than to lose a friend.
Kids need to learn that telling a person in charge [parent, caring adult, authority, whatever] is not only good, but CRUCIAL when it protects someone. Think of the suicides, aggression, bullying, drug use, etc. etc. that are concelaed for fear of being a "tattletale." We have to educate our children early on and often to help them distinguish when to tell and when not to tell.
It may be true that no one likes a tattletale, but it is also true that sometimes someone needs a tattletale. Start when they are young, because when they are teens they will need to know how to decide.
What rules or guidelines do you use with your kids about this issue? Share, please!
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