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Why kids tattle-tale and what you can do about it

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Is your kid a pint-sized "Complain King" or "Complain Queen" who constantly tattles to you about his siblings and friends? Find out why they are like this and what exactly you can do about it!

Does your child often come running up to you to whine about how his friend snatched a toy away from him, or reports to you about how his younger sibling is not eating her vegetables?

Your little "Complain King" might get on your nerves at times so you probably want to know why he's such a little snitch (and hopefully put an end to the tattle-tales!).

Here are the reasons to help you understand why your tiny tattle-tale feels the need to rat out on those around him and what you can do to help cut down on all the complaints!

Why kids tattle

Your child does not choose to pow tow just for fun! There are a few possible reasons as to why he does this, such as:

1. To gain favour with parents or caregivers

kids tattle tale tell complain children behaviour

In order to win your praises and affection, your kid might (figuratively) throw someone else under the bus, just to make himself appear to be the better one.

Jerry Wyckoff, a child psychologist in Prairie Village, USA, and the author of Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking explains, "Tattling allows a child to one-up another child, to gain favour in the eyes of her parent or teacher."

2. They understand right from wrong

kids tattle tale tell complain children behaviour

Children need some rules to help maintain order and also keep them away from harm. Being able to follow rules, guidelines and instructions also helps with their cognitive and moral development.

If your kid sees someone else breaking the rules, he may feel compelled to tell someone with authority due to his own understanding of right and wrong -- not because he's just being kaypoh!

3. Attention-seeking

kids tattle tale tell complain children behaviour

If your child has not been getting enough one-on-one time with you, he may use this opportunity to get your attention and listen to him as he snitches about how his cousin ate some candy without sharing.

Remember to spend quality time with your little one and listen to him when he really does need you, otherwise he will just end up whining and tattling on others just for you to finally pay him some attention.

4. Older kids are just watching out for the younger ones

kids tattle tale tell complain children behaviour

Older children might feel responsible for watching over the younger kids and therefore think they need to report any important updates to you.

Don't get frustrated at your child for just doing (what he think is) his "duty", because you must admit that it's pretty sweet of him to care about the welfare of the little ones!

5. They have been given too many rules

kids tattle tale tell complain children behaviour

Maybe your child has been given a lot of rules so when he sees someone else breaking one, it makes him feel a sense of injustice, since he is not allowed to do the same.

Rules may be good for kids, but too many might make him feel stifled and restricted, especially if those around him are getting away with everything.

Go to the next page to see what you can do about your child's (borderline annoying) tattle-tale habits!

Child Development Kids