Oh yes, by far the three most popular words in my house this summer so far. Every time I hear them I can’t wait for what someone must tell me.
That’s a lie. I can’t stand hearing those words. Having someone scream “I’m telling mom”, “Oooh I’m tellin”, or “wait till I tell mom what you did/said”, or any combination of those words, makes me run and hide. But that doesn’t seem to stop them and it doesn’t even matter if I’m in the bathroom! They will stand outside the door and proceed to inform me of what I must know.
Here’s the real problem; it’s the same child over and over again. I’ll give you three guesses as to who it is, and I’ll even throw in a hint if you want me to. (Hint: I only have ONE of this gender child). That should narrow it down for you, but if you’re new to The Guilty Parent, just keep reading; it will all be revealed in a moment.
You see for some reason, Bebe has taken it upon herself to tattle on every. little. thing. Even when it’s not being done to her. I want to check her for scratches because by the end of the day she starts to sound like a broken record.
I’ve tried stalling her with the usual questions:
Is anyone hurt?
Is anyone dying?
Are they doing something to YOU?
Did it cause you so much physical or emotional pain that you don’t think you’ll ever recover from it? (That’s a new one but I love how she rolls her eyes when I ask it)
But when she answers NO to every one of my questions, I sometimes make the fatal mistake of asking, “then why are you telling me this?”
Seriously. I need to stop asking that question because asking that leads to another brand new tattle (usually).
I don’t want to emotionally scar the child by dancing around in front of her chanting “Tattle tale, tattle tale, Bebe’s a tattle tale”. Her brothers do that enough for me. Besides, I’d look silly and I’d no longer win Mom Of The Year. She’s going to be 11 soon and I would have thought this is something she would have grown out of but it seems that it’s only gotten worse. Maybe she thinks this is the only way to communicate with me.
So what are my options?
Do I tune her out? Should I enforce “punishments” for tattling, such as charging her a penny, nickel, or dime for every tattle she tells? Have her wash extra dishes, chores? I’m not just considering normal means of discouraging her from it. I want creative ideas and discipline for tattling. I’m fresh out of creative at this point.
Beyond the tattling, there’s a second problem at hand.
How do I handle the issue she’s tattling on? If I let her brothers off the hook (it’s always her brothers, why would she tattle on herself?), then I send the message that they can get away with being bad. If I give attention to the tattling and handle whatever problem her brothers are causing then I’m giving her the message that it’s acceptable for her to tattle on them AND her brothers plot against her mercilessly thus giving her something to tattle about later.
Do you see the vicious circle I have going on here?
Then there’s Peanut, he’s the youngest and likely the next one in line to start tattling. I do not want him to pick this up. So far, he’s only interested in telling on someone when he’s been personally wronged and I can still deal with that. He’s four and I expect him to tell me when someone has been mean to him or hurt him. However, I don’t think I could take it if he turns into Bebe.
I will. Pull. Out. My. Hair.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions for me? A new place I can run to when the tattling starts?