There comes a time in every person’s life where they go and tell someone, “You will never believe what this person did to me!” That time seems to start at around three years old. I think the toddler’s urge to say that this person took their toy is the greatest urge they have. Eden usually doesn’t tattle on her sister although she does report to me her actions and/or whereabouts:
“Salem is playing in the toilet.”
“Salem is eating sprinkles.”
“Salem is putting peanut butter in her hair.”
“Salem pooped in the bath.” (totally immune to that one now because she does that on the regular)
However, when we play with her most frequent playmates, she tells for her, her sister, and for her Gabba toys if necessary. She’s not whining when she does, it’s more like she is noting an injustice or something that has gone contrary to what I’ve told her is supposed to happen: you take turns, you share, etc. which if funny because she doesn’t have those things mastered. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes she’s just annoyed by someone else or she sometimes tells because she wants to be selfish and set up ALL the toys for a party and NO ONE else can move the arrangements because they are going to ruin the party. I know you have to handle it case by case on how you address the tattle at the time but I’m finding it sort of tricky.
On one hand, kids need to learn how to work things out on their own but at three, ehhhhhhh, I don’t know. I hate the feeling of her coming needing help addressing something and then me being all like, “Go fend for yourself. I know you can’t read or write and your imaginary play with friends lasts four minutes, but figure out how to handle your frustrations.” I hear some moms help their kids out and make suggestions which is what I do but then there are other moms who are like, “I don’t want to hear it. Go play.” I’m not sure how I should handle tattling but specifically with a three-year old. 6, 7, 8 years old, that’s a little more clear but what should I really do for a three-year old? I like offering solutions or posing questions such as: “What could you do in this situation to make it better?” and while I think that’s a good approach, it doesn’t seem to cut down on tattling. Maybe it’s something you teach for a long time and then it pays off way down the road and then the frequency stops?
She is tattling a lot more and if she plays with her cousins, she may tattle 6 times. Of course they are all tattling because it’s a normal little kid behavior but what do you do after the 3rd time? Do you ever have a consequence for tattling for three-year olds? What do you do for repetitive toddler tattling?
Repetitive Toddler Tattling: RTT …it’s the new toddler diagnosis.
Symptoms include: broken record vocalizations, crying, toys to the head, confusion, demanding state of being, obsessions with objects of little value, vacillating feelings of love and hate for children of similar ages, bouts of sadness, feelings of hopelessness, intense needs for inanimate objects, the inability to enjoy another’s company, frustrations of who will be the princess, bouts of “generosity” in exchanging a much lesser desired toy in order to keep the one they have, and diarrhea because kids poop a lot.
Also, it’s highly contagious.
Also, it’s awkward when a child tells on another person’s child in front of you and their mom. RTT damages lives.
Also, may not be curable.