Tattling : A Common Childhood Behavior
Everyone knows that children have a habit of tattling on each other. Tattling is a common behavior and is to be expected from children. There may be a point where tattling gets out of hand and seems to be more of a problem than just the usual tattles. There are different reasons for why children tell on each other but ultimately it is to get someone in trouble and usually the tattler gets off without getting into any form of punishment.
The typical age group for a tattler is between the ages of five and ten years of age. Although some children may start to tattle before five years of age and may continue to engage in that behavior beyond the age of ten. A lot of adults either find tattling to be irritating or find it sweet as the child is helping out with the parent’s job. Although after awhile of a child tattling no one will deny that tattling becomes more irritating than sweet.
One may wonder why children tattle on each other, and there are different reasons for such behavior. A child may tattle on other children to get positive attention. As if to say I did not do this but this child did and I should be seen as good for telling you about this. At first tattling may be treated positively as the child is tipping you off to another child’s negative behavior. After awhile tattling becomes negative attention. Tattling can be seen as gossip like when adults start talking about someone and what they did at work or whatever the situation might be.
There are times when a child tells on another child in order to get that child some form of punishment. This makes the child feel better about themselves and possibly look good in the eyes of the adults they told the information to. The child may also feel they have power over the other child. For example, the child might say if you act up again I will tell mom and you will get grounded. The child acts as a little adult instituting a form of punishment on the other youth.
Tattling can cause a rift between the children. Children that may have been friends might not feel comfortable acting themselves around a child that constantly tells on them for whatever they may have done wrong. The child that gets tattled on may not want anything to do with the one that tattles on them. Tattling can hurt a child’s feelings as they may not have known they were going to get in trouble until the other child told on them. Tattling also causes children to lose trust in other children that tell on them for everything they do wrong. It can also be seen as a form of criticism, as if the child is not good enough to avoid punishment. Tattling can be seen as a problem when a child constantly engages in such behavior.