"Christopher's not letting me play with the ball!" "Sarah's calling me names!" "Tommy won't let me in the bathroom!" Sound familiar?
Tattling reigns as one of the most common behavior problems among siblings. Unfortunately, it is overlooked rather than dealt with properly in many homes.
Parents often pardon rather than correct the tattler simply because they do not know how to deal with the issue. While some parents are frustrated with their inability to control the problem, others try to rationalize their decision to avoid correction.
"After all," reasons one parent, "if my child is doing something he ought not do, why does it matter how I find out?"
Another parent says, "If one of my children has been wronged by his sibling, I would rather he come tell me than to fight back."
While these are reasonable arguments for not correcting the tattler, they overlook the damaging effects that tattling has on sibling relationships.
Tattling is typically motivated by one sibling taking pleasure in the other sibling's suffering, which ultimately creates an atmosphere of opposition and conflict. Siblings who are committed to getting one another in trouble will wedge a thorn of distrust in their relationship, disrupting the harmony of the whole family.
Parents can tame the tattletale and cultivate peace and unity among siblings by following these four steps: