Advice Needed Please

We have a little situation going on in our household... and short of telling Miss Beebo that no one likes (or enjoys) a tattle-tale, i am out of solutions.  The tattle-taling has reached record proportions!  She'll even be sitting in the exact same room as i and still feel the need to tell on her poor brother.

"Um, Miss Beebo...i am sitting right here.  Please do not tell on your brother when i am right here, because if MommyO thinks what he did was inappropriate or dangerous, MommyO will deal with him."

"Okay Miss Beebo, thanks for telling me that your brother did that...but the time has passed, i didn't see it happen...let's move on."

I am unsure if the tattle-taling has reached school.  Sheesh, really hope it is only ALL about her brother.  And why, oh why, does she only tell on him when what he is doing isn't really worthy of a) discussing or b) punishing?

Then on Tuesday night, i was watching an episode of "Raising Hope" called 'Sleep Training'.  In the episode, Jimmy is trying to figure out why he is so afraid of 'Dog Man'-- something that he has feared since childhood but can't really explain.  A flashback of Jimmy and Maw Maw (played by Cloris Leachman) show them watching tv together, and a 'Dog Man' appears on the tv, scarring a young Jimmy who flees under the table!  Maw Maw takes this opportunity to tell the scared boy that "The Dog Man eats children who do not keep their rooms tidy and especially loves to eat kids who tattletale!"  Jimmy is super frightened and never forgets this.

So-- could i be this mean?  Should i just tell Miss Beebo that there is a 'Tattle-tale Monster'??  Seems wrong to me, but for real, i am going to go crazy listening to this non-stop telling of tales.

What would you do?

Synonyms of Tattle-taling: betrayer, canary [slang], deep throat, fink, informant, nark [British], rat, rat fink, snitch, snitcher, squealer, stoolie, stool pigeon, talebearer, tattler, informer, telltale, whistle-blower


Make her really uncomfortable when she does it. You need to find something she loves and remove it. Like her good name.

For example, pay attention to her every move and when she tattles bring something up, like "Well, it's too bad that your brother did that but i saw you do this and you weren't punished. So leave him alone."

Or tell her every time you have to punish the little man she gets punished for tattling. Or, every time she tattles on him he gets a treat and she gets the consequence. Make her life hard for a day or two.

Start a chart. On it will be his every crime. And hers as well. tattling being the biggest crime of all. And she'll start to see that her crimes match his which makes her no better. She may want to start defending/protecting him over time so both their charts stay clean.

This is all probably terrible advice. My kids are perfect. They never tattle. I have no idea. Good luck to you!

(that was sarcasm. I don't want anyone thinking my kids are perfect. That's ridiculous!)
Rebecca said…
It's just a phase, think about the past phases that drove you bonkers and then try to imagine how this will phase out of you lives and something new and exciting will be the next big thing.
JeanetteSchenk said…
Wish I had some advice for you other than just ride it out... I definitely think its a first born female thing though... my eldest daughter at age 8 1/2 STILL feels as though SHE is the mother-hen and I still find myself getting exasperated and reminding her that I have got things under control!
I may be the odd ball here but I do encourage the kids to tell on each other. I have four so I am out numbered. That being said there are guidelines for it and I used a chart as to what they may or may not tattle about. Plus they know if I am in the room at the time of the crime I will deal with it. It does help when they happen to get into or do things they shouldn't. They look out for one another, yes sometimes it is because they are just in a tattling mood and want to be the boss, but it's dealt with. Good luck! ;)
Keri said…
The best piece of advice I ever got with regard to tattling was this. Ask her: "Is this a time for getting someone INTO trouble, or a time for getting someone OUT of trouble." We both know she is clever enough to know the difference, so if she can't use that as a clear and consistent rule, then I just don't know what. Often I just tell J that he isn't B's mommy, and I'll deal with it.
Anonymous said…
One of the most difficult things to do is teach my kids the difference between just telling on each other for silly things and telling me when someone is doing something I need to know about. I still haven't mastered that so I have no helpful tips for you! Lol. If you figure it out, please let ME know! :D
TheFitHousewife said…
LOL....this situation is going in my I type this no less! "Mommy, Justin hit me!" "Mommy, Ben is calling me names!"

My oldest is constantly telling me what his brothers are doing to him. I just keep telling him over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over... that he needs to tell his brothers nicely not to do what they are doing, and that if he ignores them and doesn't play with them then they will stop. This seems to have worked, or else the phase is passing ;)
Matty said…
SamiJoe, I'm always hesitant to give advice, even when it's solicited.

Having raised 3 kids to adulthood, here's my two cents. You are in the here and now, and it seems like a significant issue. With things like this well behind me now, I can assure you that it's a phase and it will pass. She will grow out of it.

But since you are looking for an answer now, I would suggest this.....when she tattles, evaluate it as to whether or not it's something you need to act on NOW. If he is doing something dangerous or something that definitely needs your attention, then address it. If not, ignore her. Yes, I said ignore her. Not in a mean, you don't care type of way, but just don't react to it. She will soon learn that when her tattling doesn't get a reaction from you, then it won't be worth telling you.

Best of luck to you my friend.

What I do with the boys (and my students) is that if someone isn't being hurt (physically or truly emotionally), then I don't want to hear about it.

With my grade sevens...
I don't want to hear that somebody said a bad word (unless they directed at you as name calling). I don't want to hear that someone is chewing gum unless we're in gym (and they could get hurt), etc.

During my studies to become a teacher, one of our readings was a Barbara Colorosso book called Children Are a Gift. In that book (if I remember correctly) she says something called "In Out or Both". When her students come to her with a tattle tale, she asks them "In Out or Both?"

In other words, are you getting someone into trouble, out of trouble, or both... like you're saving them from being hurt, but they're going to get in trouble as a result."

If it's only the first, then she doesn't want to hear about it.
Joy said…
Oh lord. I have one of those too, and same as yours he will tattle for something when I'm sitting right there. Drives me crazy!!

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