by Tara Concelman of Home First Behavior
Happy first Tuesday of the month! If you missed our first session – go back and catch up on why I am here, our ground rules and how this work!
I am opening my question and answer time tonight by answering two questions that I did not get to last month:
Question 1. Tattling
“Hi Tara! I have two questions, about sharing and tattling. I have two girls, ages 3 1/2 and 5 1/2. They are really great about sharing with their friends, but not so great about sharing with each other. We hear the word “mine” a LOT in our house and we always correct and say no, it is “ours”. But it seems as though every time one of them has a specific toy, the other one has to have it and accuses the first sister of not sharing. And then freaks out. We have tried taking away the toy and putting it in time-out, but it doesn’t seem to work. Then there is the tattling. It’s worse with my 5 1/2 year old, but the 3 1/2 year old now does it too. We have told them that unless one hurting themselves or others that we don’t want to hear about it. We’ve talked about how tattling will make people not like them or want to play with them. We’ve talked about using kind and positive words. But the tattling is almost constant. Any suggestions?”
Tattling, just like sibling rivalry will drive us to distraction! And we adults are oh so tempted to use many, many words with our little ones to explain to them just how problematic their tattling is and how we would like it to stop. But to our dismay tattling continues and we talk “till were blue in the face”. So here is the rub: talking till we are blue is exactly what keeps tattling WORKING! Because it is an attention based behavior. The child comes from some other space in the house to seek you out and speak to you. You turn and look at them and explain how ludicrous the tattle tale is………OR, sometimes even worse, you avenge the tattler by turning to the tattled……reacting in gentle or not so gentle ways, to the reported problem child and their reported egregious behavior; successfully avenging the tattler!
Unfortunately, all of the aforementioned reactions INCREASE the probability that tattling will continue in the future! UGH!
What to do? As stated last month in the post about sibling rivalry, make a plan. Lay out the plan clearly with your children at a neutral non-tattling time.
Here is one idea of a plan:
- Define tattling: “any time one child reports on the actual or perceived wrong doing of another child in order to get him in trouble or to get their way.”
- Explain the difference between tattling and reporting. (Reporting is to save someone from harm). Reporting can be helping. Any behavior that is life threatening or self endangering may be REPORTED. Attend to the reported victim without a lot of attention to the reporter.
- All tattling will be ignored. You will not hear or look at the tattler. You will (without looking at the tattler) state. “That is tattling”. Look at your watch. Tell them they will have 30 seconds to stop talking or go to time out for 10 minutes.
- If the tattler continues speaking after 30 seconds. Say only, “Times up-time out”.
- Take them calmly to a dull time out space (tattler’s chair, time-out mat) for 3-5 minutes depending on their age. Ignore protestation. (You can add a minute for each argument up to 15 then they lose digital privileges for 24 hours). Or, they will have to perform a chore for the offended party. (Use a timer and start the time over if they are still emotional or talking. Time out ends when quiet at the bell ring.)
- If a real injury has occurred. Attend to the injured without a lot of fanfare. Then, put both parties in time out for fighting/aggression or whatever. Because sibling aggression is usually a reaction to a perceived offense. Time out for both is effective.
- Finally, you can hold a do-over after the time out has occurred.
After everyone has calmed down, and NOT in the middle of the emotional crisis, do-overs are a very effective discipline procedure and an excellent teaching method at the same time. You can affirm a do-over with the words: “There you go! You know how to be kind to your sister!”
Question 2: Lying
“Tips for getting to the motivation for the lie? And best consequence?”
Short and simple: Most lying occurs for escape and avoidance. But it can be a primal response to a particular form of parental questioning.
Here are some tips about lying.
- Never put your child in lying defense mode by asking a question you know the answer to. This is the biggest reported form of “lying”, trying to hide guilt. Simply state what you know: “You used the ipad with out asking. You have lost your next iPad privilege. You may earn the next one by being obedient and kind.”
- When you ask a question about something you know: “Did you use the ipad without asking?”sets your children up to lie. And you are at a loss to defend. You resort to emotional coercion to make them admit. Stating the wrong doing and the consequence is always better then asking!
- If you don’t know WHO used the ipad without permission: don’t ask, discipline all potential suspects with the logical consequence. The truth may come out later. Then you can bless the the confession with acceptance and attention. No big deal if everyone loses a privilege, lot’s of good lessons there.
- If they lie about innocuous make believe sorts of things. State the truth with low fanfare, or, say: “You think so?”Move on. The truth will prove itself. No need to make a big deal. This form of lying is attention based and arguing gives a great deal of attention!
Now, your turn! Fire away in comments section below!
You can go ahead and start putting your questions down now and I will get to them on first come, first served basis between 8-10 pm EST tonight! Come back to chat with me!
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