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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We just had a conference with DD's preschool teacher. She mentioned (again) that DD does not play much with the other children, which we already knew. Aside from that, though, she described DD laughingly as her "deputy" and said that she is constantly informing the teacher when other children break or bend any of the class rules. I was surprised by this, as I think of DD as not paying that much attention to other kids.<br><br>
Is this a gifted kid thing, or...? Any thoughts on how to handle it? It sounds like the teacher is doing all right with it, but I'm thinking that "tattlers" are generally not well-beloved. DD is hardly the world's most devoted rule-follower herself, so it's a bit interesting...but she *does* have a tendency to correct people and to be somewhat rigid (not excessively so, and she's also very creative).
 

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Don't know if it's a GT thing.<br><br>
Both kids went through this, particularly DS. I talked with him about it not being his job to be the police officer. This gave us some quick terminology to discuss actual events later, and he's not as quick to be bothered as he was. He had become quite preoccupied with "fair" for a while there, and that following the rules made the world more fair. He starts kindie next week, after a summer of no group activities. We'll see if he's outgrown this, or if he'll put his uniform on again!
 

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Yes and no; tattling tends to show up earlier and be more difficult a habit for gifted children, in my experience. There's this overwhelming need for things to be *correct*. Rules are internalized quickly and applied to everything. Ironicly, it demonstrates simultaneously a very sophisticated intellect and a very immature understanding of the world. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Young gifted children (ime, this seems to be a big problem for ages 2-6, but not so much after that) often internalize the notions that honesty is more important than politeness, and that justice is more important than compassion. This is exacerbated when they are forced to spend time with people who have absolutely no concept of justice (i.e. children their own ages) and who think of "truth" as interchangable with their own thoughts/desires. It's interesting to note here that the gifted child's perspective is just as egocentric as that of an average child, but they carry it to entirely new levels by applying [usually externally derived] rules to their actions.<br><br>
The idea that rules are flexible, that they are made by people (who can be wrong) and that they serve a purpose outside of just being THE WAY THINGS ARE is a very abstract concept. It's one that most children, even gifted children, won't be able to wrap their little heads around until they're 5-9 years old (at the earliest). Tattling, then, is the kid's way of saying, "I know the rules!" and working to impose that structure on everyone and everything. It's evidence of extremely concrete thinking, regardless of how complex it is. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> In other words... it means that your daughter is, mentally, still three and a half years old despite being very, very bright. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I was definitely excited to see what you would have to say!What a well written reply ...Thanks Rynna!
 

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What then is the best way to handle tattling? I am struggling with this with DD and DS. Every little thing he does is a huge insult or problem for her. I want her to tell me if she sees him doing something that could hurt someone, but I don't really need to know when he's say, dumping the toys out. I also don't want to belittle her thoughts on right/wrong, or make her think I don't care when he does something serious. (I may, of course, be overthinking the whole thing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"> )
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Rynna, what a great reply--I've been thinking about it all day. Yes, in a way, I have to assume this is another case where she wants to apply "I know, I know!"
 

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dd (35mo) is a tattletale. like rynna said, there is an overwhelming desire for her to be correct about everything. everything just has to be so with my dd and she will dob you in if you don't comply. heck she dobs me in to dh if i don't say sorry for saying something rude. we don't know if dd is gifted so i'm unsure if my response is appropriate, but we know she is very bright. when she learns a new rule, she refuses to let it go and "forces" everyone to comply from there on.<br>
we can't even say the word "shit" in this house without her screaming out "don't say that - it's rude!" 2 milliseconds later. somedays it feels like she is almost waiting for us to stuff up. my dd has no tact either. this is off-topic but it reminds me of something.. grandma was reading to her the other day and didn't have her reading glasses on. anyway, the print was somewhat small and she was trying to read the word "foal" and on first go ended up saying "fo-al" to which dd immediately screamed out "it's FOAL!" and shut the book out of frustration.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
my dd is a perfectionist, always correcting herself and others. she will even ask you about a rule and wait for your response. if your response doesn't match what the rule is she will correct you then and there.<br>
she starts pre-school this week. God help me.
 

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Rynna, I'll be another to say thanks for a great explanation. We have a perfectionistic, exacting, relatively rigid 4 yo dd. She is (almost always) an incredible rule-follower, and firmly believes that everyone else should always do everything RIGHT too.<br><br>
It is interesting to see how this shapes her world view, too. In her preschool, there are certain little boys who do <i>not</i> do a good job following rules. They do tend to hit, push, etc. (and today decided to "set the girls on fire," because they were talking about firefighters). Anyway, dd has decided that <i>all</i> boys are not nice. When people ask if we're having a boy or a girl (due 11/07), dd says, "I hope it's a girl, but if it's a boy that's OK, I'll teach it how to be nice."<br><br>
Good to know that there are others like her, somewhere (if not in our tiny town).
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9010751"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Yes and no; tattling tends to show up earlier and be more difficult a habit for gifted children, in my experience. There's this overwhelming need for things to be *correct*. Rules are internalized quickly and applied to everything. Ironicly, it demonstrates simultaneously a very sophisticated intellect and a very immature understanding of the world. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
Young gifted children (ime, this seems to be a big problem for ages 2-6, but not so much after that) often internalize the notions that honesty is more important than politeness, and that justice is more important than compassion. This is exacerbated when they are forced to spend time with people who have absolutely no concept of justice (i.e. children their own ages) and who think of "truth" as interchangable with their own thoughts/desires. It's interesting to note here that the gifted child's perspective is just as egocentric as that of an average child, but they carry it to entirely new levels by applying [usually externally derived] rules to their actions.<br><br>
The idea that rules are flexible, that they are made by people (who can be wrong) and that they serve a purpose outside of just being THE WAY THINGS ARE is a very abstract concept. It's one that most children, even gifted children, won't be able to wrap their little heads around until they're 5-9 years old (at the earliest). Tattling, then, is the kid's way of saying, "I know the rules!" and working to impose that structure on everyone and everything. It's evidence of extremely concrete thinking, regardless of how complex it is. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> In other words... it means that your daughter is, mentally, still three and a half years old despite being very, very bright. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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Very interesting! And completely makes so much sense!
 

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Aw, thanks guys! I feel the love! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/heartbeat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="heartbeat">:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>monkaha</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9012326"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What then is the best way to handle tattling? I am struggling with this with DD and DS. Every little thing he does is a huge insult or problem for her. I want her to tell me if she sees him doing something that could hurt someone, but I don't really need to know when he's say, dumping the toys out. I also don't want to belittle her thoughts on right/wrong, or make her think I don't care when he does something serious. (I may, of course, be overthinking the whole thing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"> )</div>
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It's really, really difficult. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> BeanBean was not a huge tattler, so what worked for us may not work as well for another family; While BooBah is going through a minor tattling phase now, having her older brother around to set an example is really helpful. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> The thing that helped us was teaching BeanBean about 911-- what it was, and what it was for. In the process, he learned the concept of emergencies, and the difference between something important and something unimportant when it comes to worrying. Learning about what constitutes a real emergency allowed BeanBean to understand not only what was (i.e. Mike having a hypoglycemic reaction at 5 a.m.) but what *wasn't* (i.e. BooBah dumping all the toys on the floor). He managed to grasp the idea of levels of importance, which of course was further emphasized by our responses to his declarations. A cry of, "BooBah's playing with the eggs again!" was more likely to get a response from me than, "BooBah took all the blocks out of the box!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Again, though, I can see any number of reasons why this might not work for a particular child-- many are MUCH more attached to the rules than is BeanBean. Many young children aren't ready to think about actual emergencies without a paralyzing logic loop of worry (my brother was like this). With my niece BizzyBug (7 and ASD), it took much longer and the thought of introducing her to 911 was... well, just plain out of the question. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"> With her, I would say "I don't appreciate tattling" over and over again until she finally got the message. We defined "tattling" as "reporting inconsequential actions of another," and this took some time to define. "BeanBean got the milk out of the fridge and he's pouring it in a cup!" "Is that important?" "I don't know." "Is BeanBean allowed to have milk?" "Yes." "Does it matter if he drinks some?" "No." "That's tattling. I don't care if BeanBean has a cup of milk."<br><br>
I can remember dozens and dozens of similar conversations. Now, at seven, we have it down to shorthand-- "What did we say about tattling?" "Don't." When she feels the need to tattle (and she still does on occasion) she will have a doll or puppet do the dirty deed on her behalf-- "Timmy Turtle wants to tattle on ______!" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> I told her, "If it's important, Timmy Turtle can tell Mickey Monkey," and she was satisfied with that. Her dolls and stuffed animals and such are *constantly* tattling and rumor mongering. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> As long as I don't have to deal with it, I'm good. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9010751"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><br>
Young gifted children (ime, this seems to be a big problem for ages 2-6, but not so much after that) often internalize the notions that honesty is more important than politeness, and that justice is more important than compassion.</div>
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My seven year old still believes this to be the case, or at least behaves in a manner that suggests he does. He doesn't tattle as much any more as he informs the other child that he's "doing it wrong." If the teacher writes a list on the board and he notices his neighbor completing the tasks out of order, he tells his classmate to follow the directions. Stuff like that.<br><br>
My three year old daughter doesn't tattle per se. However, she will come home from her time at school and tell <i>me</i>, "Today Abby didn't wash her hands before snack." At the time that it happened, she had no interest in telling the teachers, but somehow later, it becomes important to tell me. Hmmm.<br><br>
Both of my kids are SO into "the rules."
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>eilonwy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/9010751"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The idea that rules are flexible, that they are made by people (who can be wrong) and that they serve a purpose outside of just being THE WAY THINGS ARE is a very abstract concept. It's one that most children, even gifted children, won't be able to wrap their little heads around until they're 5-9 years old (at the earliest).</div>
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What? Rules are <i>flexible</i>? Shhh...don't tell my son! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> The presence of rules in this world is just about the only thing that provides comfort and security in his anxiety-filled life of uncertainty.
 

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Subbing. Great post, Rynna!<br><br>
At not quite 3, Q's not really into tattling yet, but she's been spending time with a couple 7-year-old girls who are very into tattling, and I can see those wheels turning. So I expect to be dealing with, at the least, some experimentation with the, ah, "art form" soon.<br><br>
Right now we're getting our own rules and words thrown back at us lickety-split. "Mama, I was talking. DON'T INTERRUPT ME." (She says as she starts talking over us and then gets mad when we finish our sentences. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Grasps the concept, working on the application. . . . ) "Mama, listen to my words." "Mama, are your listening ears turned on?" "Don't forget to hold my hand in the parking lot, Mama! Hey! Anna's not holding her mama's hand! Anna!!!"
 

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Here it's more about keeping people feeling the love. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: . They would not tattle, but do take on the job of getting people to 'work it out'. It's a huge , huge burden. I've noticed it is not something they outgrow. Nope. They do not.
 

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All of ours have or currently do tattle in a certain way, even the littlest. The way I tend to deal with this is to ask the tattler to talk to the tattlee about it and if it cannot be resolved then I am willing to help, but I would prefer for them to resolve it together. Our eldest grasps the concept of degrees of severity and rarely tattles anymore. He will absolutely come tell me if one of his brothers is doing something that could cause injury or destruction, but otherwise, he is pretty confident to speak directly with them. He even negotiates with them to hand things to him that he thinks will be dangerous for them to have.<br><br>
Ds2, just turned 3, and he is the most challenging to deal with in this respect right now. I am often redirecting him to speak directly to the to his brother(s) and i also give him a phrase to use that I know the other will grasp and explain to him why I think that sayoing this will help both him and his brother to come to an agreement. Then I remind him to try to speak gently because it will help his brother to listen to what he's saying. He functions best with coaching his communication in a high-stress situation (which could be anything- he's intensely sensitive and emotional). Ds3 is adamant about certain aspcts of justice, but he will settle down as long as his feelings and the rules are acknowledged, even if the outcome isn't as he expected- most of the time, but not always. He has a harder time with flexibility at this point than his brothers.<br><br>
Since we've made a major paradigm shift in our beliefs and life philosophy/consciousness, we've been discussing morality a lot with our dc. In instances when they would have determined whether or not someone else's actions were 'good' or 'bad,' (and would subsequently feel justified in their pronouncements about the 'offender') they now will (well, the older two) discuss the problem as they see it in terms of whether or not it's beneficial and to whom. This has really fizzled out the conflicts that used to happen because we now reserve moral judgement for only specific things, things that our dc rarely if ever encounter. This has also meant that the quanitity of rules has decreased to very, very few- mostly, if not all, related to safety- with most issues viewed as preferences; this has reduced the amount of conflict in our home so drastically that I'm not sure we would be recognisable to friends who haven't seen us in the last year since we moved and made these changes with our family life.<br><br>
These changes in our life with our family dynamic have really helped us to relate in a deeper way that removes a focus on fault and puts in its place a focus on relationship and personal responsibility. I do know that people are so different from one another (which is beautiful) that this probably wouldn't work for many others, so please know that having such a unique bunch myself, I am in no way telling anyone to do this and you'll have these results- I KNOW KNOW KNOW that's not necessarily or even likely the case. I have three young children who will absolutely NOT sleep more than 10 hours/day even though they are clearly tired, and I constantly receive advice about it and critisism as though it is a 'discipline (um, or punishment) issue. I know that there is so much variation that the best I can do is to share my experience and if it helps, great; if not, that's okay- you'll figure out what works and you'll know when that happens and by what means. I have found tremendous relief from this approach to life, though; it has truly revolutionised our life together, including my mothering.<br><br>
I wonder, do children who have begun life in an atmosphere of consentual living or with rules only for safety seek rules to enforce anyway? I cannot determine that from our experience because all of ours so far have been making a transition with dh and me, so it makes sense for there to be remnants of our former perspective. Does anyone here know about this? I'm curious. I suppose I'll have at least one child whose experience won't include this transition (well, not purely- I know this babe hears very well in utero), so I'll have a singular experience to evaluate at least.<br><br>
p.s. I am largely refering to the dynamic between the children and between me and them and my dh and them, not to the dynamic between my dh and me; we're working on that.
 

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Kudos Rynna - that's the most lucid explanation I've ever read!<br><br>
I spend a lot of time telling ds "Who's job is it to worry about the other kids?" "You worry about you, and let me worry about your sister."<br><br>
Ds is a particular rule follower and likes it when life is "in order" (this is the child who went through the neighborhood putting the recycling bins upright and closing the garbage cans at age 2!). when he learned to read speed limit signs at age 3, we had quite a few months where he kept asking us how fast we were driving. Always 55, thank you very much. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br>
Dd is a bit more complex -- rules apply to OTHER people, but not her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">. So far, she hasn't done much tattling -- she's much more likely to simply tell the person directly. I can't tell if that's her personality or if that's her age (just 3). She IS eager to tell me who broke the rules some days. "A lost her choice to sit next to me because she put her hand over my mouth at lunch." "Oh, why did she put your hand over your mouth?" "I don't know." "Were you telling her what to do?" "Yes."<br><br>
I wonder how much intersection there is between bossiness and tattling? Ds is more prone to tattling, but isn't bossy so much (except with his sister). Dd isn't prone to tattling, but could be what you would describe as 'bossy'. (A term I will never use with her because it shuts girls down!)
 

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Yeah, it seems to me that bossiness and tattling are two sides of the same coin, varying with personality. Some kids will talk to other kids, some would rather tell an adult (or any authority figure, really). They're doing the same thing-- trying to impose their rules on others and the world-- but one is more direct than the other. I guess the "bossy" children are somewhat more independant than the "tattly" sorts. Bean's much more inclined to boss than tattle, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
DD is both bossy and tattle-y. However, she does not usually boss other kids...but let's wait and see what happens when #2 is born. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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My DD isn't exactly a tattler, but she gets really concerned when other kids don't do what they're supposed to do. She tries to get them to go to their moms when they're being called, or to stop doing whatever their parents asked them to stop doing. She's not at all bossy, though (except with her little brother.) Just the opposite - she lets herself be bossed a lot. If she's urging another kid to listen to her mother, it's not in a bossy way, but more like the way you'd urge someone to get out of the way of danger. I suppose if she keeps doing this as she gets older, I'll have to explain that it's not going to make her well-liked.
 

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I don't know if any of y'all have ever read The Birth Order Book (not sure who it's by) but I think some kids tend to tattle more depending on their birth order.<br><br>
I thought we were making headway on the tattling thing by telling the kids that they only need to come tell me when someone is doing something destructive or dangerous. We seemed to be doing pretty well. But the last couple of weeks have been awful. I think it might partly be because we were on vacation for a month and so their routine was thrown off. We've had a lot of "Aiden hit me" "Well, why did he hit you?" "Because I kicked him" "Well, if you don't want him to hit you, then don't kick him" And I just can't help but wonder where the common sense is.<br><br>
Crystal
 
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