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How to Handle the Family Informant

What to do when your child becomes the family informant (aka tattletale)?  Gabrielle, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad, tells us how she’s handled this in her home… take a look!

family informant

How to Handle the Family Informant

My toddler has taken on a new role in our household.  Previously, her job duties included making messes in the middle of the living room, hiding mommy’s keys and losing one shoe out of every pair she owns.  She recently decided to take on a new role as the family informant.

This puts mommy in a precarious position.

On one hand, I appreciate it when she lets me know that her brother is sneaking cookies from the kitchen, or when her sister is playing games on my phone without permission.  But honestly, I don’t need to know every time one of the kids forgets to put their clothes in the hamper or doesn’t make their beds.  (They never do either of those things.  It would be easier for her to tell me when they actually accomplished one of them.)
There are times that I benefit from her reporting skills, but I do not want to encourage this behavior.  In school, my son is learning that there is a difference between tattling and relaying information.  The children are taught that the goal of tattling is to get another person in trouble.  The goal of relaying information is to keep people safe. Technically, nobody is in any real danger if my children toss the rest of their brussels sprouts in the garbage, but it’s a thing I like to know.

The concept is confusing for second graders.  It is certainly a challenge for my three-year old.

For now, when she gives me useful information, I try to take immediate action.  When she is obviously trying to get one of her siblings in trouble, I simply say thank you and try to turn her attention elsewhere.  It isn’t that difficult.  She’s three.  Her attention-span is about as long as my non-existent finger nails.

For now, I am considering her tattling as a way to expand her ever growing vocabulary… and as a constant reminder to put my snacks on higher shelves and to keep my phone in my pocket.

From iFamily to Yours,