Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm Tellin'....

A tattle-tale shares information that is not his to share, or sets himself up to police a situation. For us big kids, it’s called gossiping and being a busybody. It can lead to all kinds of relational problems and is something we tried to keep under control.

At our home, the girls seemed to be bigger tattle-tales than the guys. Or maybe it was only the order our children were born. We had Erin, then Andrew, and then 3 more girls before our last two, boys

I remember telling my kids that unless someone was bleeding profusely or dead, I didn’t really want to know the “information” about what their sibling was or wasn’t doing. ; )

Our little Katie (now 19, a nursing student, and married) was our most memorable tattler. Part of it was because of her personality and giftings. She is very much a take-charge girl and has the gift of discernment. However, it was a gifting that needed some directing and harnessing.

One day, in my frustration with the continued tattling, an idea came to me (I’m sure it was direct from heaven! ). I attached a tail to her backside. A tattle-tail to wear all day. She was about 4 or 5. It was just a sash, really, but it was a little embarrassing to her and I only remember using it twice.

Have any tattlers at your house? What have you found to cur-“tail” the behavior? Do tell. (Be sure to give your children’s ages).

? How about talking back or being sassy? Oh, you’ve never experienced that one, huh? ; )


Kim Heinecke said...

Robin... I love this series! For a while, my kids 8/10 could tattle on their brother if they wanted to pay me $0.50 to "hear the case." Then I charged the "guilty" party $0.50. BUT if you falsely accuse your brother and he is aquitted, you owe me another $0.50...

Of course, this was in their "we need more spending money" phase so they were pretty protective of frivalous spending. It really cut down on the stupid tattling when I would say, "Can you afford for me to listen to his right now?"

But I LOVE the tail thing...brilliant.

Dusty said...

We like to say, "That's not your story to tell."

princessjes said...

Mama Meadows you're so funny!
I wouldn't want to wear a tail for the day.
oh Katie, how funny!

Christi said...

OK- I'm totally stealing the "tail" idea...and maybe Kim's payment method too! Thanks for some fresh ideas!!My kids are 5 and 8.

Natalie Witcher said...

I'm loving these posts! Thanks for your wisdom.

Abbi said...

These are GREAT! I love hearing everyone's ideas and Meadows children stories from the past. :)

Roger Garrett said...

I am so going to use that idea. My boys will hate it

FULL OF JOY said...

Robin I have a question. How do you teach how to distinguish between what should and shouldn't be told? I get confused on this. In a society where most people just sit by when something wrong is occurring, I want my children to stand up. I want them to be the one to tell on the bully, or to tell my if one of their friends isn't acting right, and know that their parents have their back. I know there is a difference, it just seems confusing to teach them to hold each other accountable, to stand up to wrong they see, to protect each other, and to say don't tattle? Does that make sense? Any wisdom for me anyone?

Nick and Vanessa said...

I have the same question as "Full of Joy". I was never disciplined on tattling as a child b/c I was an only so I geuss I just don't get it. My 4 year old is starting to tattle on her brother so I think I need to learn a few things on this subject. :)

Donna said...

I love the "tail" idea! I think we will be using it. Ages of my children - 6, 4, 2, and 7 months.
My oldest, tattles a lot. I never connected the link b/w tattling and gossip or a gift of discernment. He has the gift of discernment as well. Love your wisdom Robin!

Bikerwife said...

Mikala loves to tattle on Miranda...even when she isn't really doing anything wrong. Mikala just likes to be in charge so if Miranda is doing something she doesn't want to do then MIkala is tatteling...I just say, worry about Mikala and I will worry about Miranda. She usually is fine with that and goes on her merry way

Robin Meadows said...

Full of Joy and Vanessa,

Usually, the only things that need to be told are if someone is doing something that would endanger themselves or one of the other children.

(you guys are making me think FAR back! LOL)

And tattle-tales are usually between siblings (or at least the cases where y
The tattler almost alwaou would be involved.)

The tattler almost always presents a superior attitude in the telling too. Or one of wanting the other to "be in trouble".

We've taught our kids that if their brother or sister is doing something they don't like, to speak with them about it first. "I don't like it when you do that, will you please stop?, or here's a good one: "What do you think mom or dad would say about that?" ; ) Then to come to me or their dad if the offense continues. They explain what happened and we deal with it from there. I think there's a distinctive difference in attitude when that happens. (and hey! it didn't/doesn't always "work"!...we just kept after it and still do!)

What have the rest of you found to be true?

This is GREAT! Love your ideas!!

Ali Ruhman said...

Lily(3 1/2) constantly is tattling on Sadie(almost 2) I try and explain that we don't tattle on her unless it's something I need to know, like she's squirting out my lipgloss everywhere. :) But she just hasn't seemed to get it yet. I could try the tail thing but she would probally think we were playing dress up.

Oh and by the way ever since your post on whining I've noticed it alot more with Lily! She was driving me crazy the other day with whining! Thanks alot!!! ;)