School can be tough sometimes. There are many rules to follow. If you do your best to follow all the rules, it can be difficult to see others break the rules…especially if they don’t get caught and aren’t punished.
Have you ever felt tempted to tell on someone when they break a rule? If you’ve ever done that, you may have been called a tattletale by the person you told on.
Although it’s a natural reaction for many children to want to tell on someone when they do something wrong, tattling is usually frowned upon by most kids, parents and teachers. When you tattle, you’re inserting yourself into a situation that most likely doesn’t and shouldn’t involve you.
For example, if a classmate is talking when he’s not supposed to, that’s an issue for the teacher to handle. Since you’re not the teacher, it’s not your responsibility to discipline your classmate.
If your classmate’s talking is distracting to you, you can try instead to handle the issue yourself. Simply asking your classmate to stop talking may be all you need to do.
Sometimes, though, you may need to get others involved. If someone’s health or safety is at issue, you need to tell someone who can help immediately. In these cases, you’re not tattling. You’re simply reporting a serious incident that needs to be brought to the attention of an adult.
For example, if your younger brother is playing with matches, that would be a potentially-dangerous situation that your parents need to know about. Likewise, if a friend at school is being bullied, you should report the incident to a teacher or school official.
Tattling is a natural behavior that most kids engage in starting very early in their lives. Experts believe tattling may stem from the conflict that occurs when kids begin to develop social skills, yet often encounter problems they can’t handle on their own.
Your parents and teachers can help you learn the difference between tattling and proper reporting. Learning to handle appropriate problems on your own will help you develop social skills that will serve you well in the future. Remember: tattling is telling on someone to get them into trouble. Helpful reporting, on the other hand, is telling about something to help someone get out of trouble.