I saw this, love it, going to use it, now I share it.
No more tattling
I remember an early Mommy Guilt experience quite vividly. I was with a group of Moms and young kids. One of the little ones was whining across the room, tattling on another kid. A mom asked, "Who is that?" (because there were a jillion kids and they all sounded the same). Another mom replied, "Well, it's not my kid. They KNOW not to tattle."
It was one of those moments where you go into a total daydream, evaluating how your kids DO tattle, and you know it's not a great habit, but at the same time you DO want to know if your preschooler is playing in the toilet. So, when is tattling okay and when is it not? And how do you teach and enforce this? And WAS it my kid doing the whining, meaning: which of us moms just totally got verbally slammed by "my kids KNOW not to tattle" mom?
I started a little process. I have no idea how it developed in my little brain. It just made sense and I tried it and it worked within the parameters of when to rat out someone and when to handle it yourself. We call it "The Steps." It goes for all of my children and also any child who is visiting our home. If you're new around here, we teach you "The Steps."
Here are ... "The Steps" (are you tired of me saying, "The Steps" yet?):
First, if someone is endangering themselves or someone else, run like the wind and TELL ON THEM! Note: touching your bug catcher without your permission does not qualify.
Typically it starts when one child does something offensive to another child (hits, takes away something, uses an ugly voice, or perhaps says a word your mom says all the time, but one of the neighborhood kids says, "Ummmmm, we're not supposed to say that!" ... not that this EVER happens at my house - just hypothetical, ya' know).
The offended child gives the other child a chance to change their behavior. We learn through practice. You say something very nice, like, "Could you please say that with a nice voice?" or "Would you please not hit me with the Barbie because I took the Barbie shoes you wanted?" or "Would you please not say, 'freakin,' because we don't say that at our house ... and isn't your dad a preacher?" *cough*
The other child has an opportunity to stop or change their behavior. Nine times out of 10, they will do this. Everyone likes a second chance. It also gives them the opportunity to say, "Okay. Oh, and could we SHARE the Barbies shoes instead of you hogging them?"
If the child does NOT stop or change their behavior (example: "Presh, would you please stop clapping at the table?" clap-clap "Presh, I said, please stop clapping at the table." claps again right in their face), then you find an adult and say, "I need some help."
If you don't use your steps or you forget how to use your steps with a nice voice ... well, you join get to jump on the consequences train together.
If someone comes running up to me tattling, I ask, "Did you use your steps?" If they walk up saying, "Mom I need some help in here," I automatically know they are working the process and staying in control.
In the beginning, you have to verbally walk them through it. "Whoops! You forgot the whole Steps thing. Here is how it works. Let's take a do-over and practice." It teaches wonderful lessons, and has done wonders with my attachment challenged children who live in a state of blame and fear and need for control. We can stop an evaluate when The Steps break down and they get themselves into a mess. Those are times we talk through how well The Steps would have worked for them!
They're a beautiful thing.