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Tattling Case

Essay by   •  February 3, 2013  •  Essay  •  425 Words (2 Pages)  •  971 Views

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In our society, tattling is perceived as a very bad thing. Children are taught from a very early age to mind their own business and to keep quiet when it comes to voicing concerns about their friend's actions - especially when it has little to do with them. Of course it is bothersome and irritating to continually hear 20 children report on every movement their friends make - "Cindy just stuck her tongue out at Billy" or "Mark called me a doodoo head" or the famous, "INSERT NAME says they won't be my friend". If you are a teacher you know how relentlessly annoying this can be. However, we miss a very important teaching and learning opportunity when we deny a child their voice. Telling a child to stay quiet when they see an injustice (however ill conceived) is the wrong message to send. My young son, aged six, told me that he is being bullied quite severely on a regular basis by a child his own age. He burst into tears one night and screamed that he wants to die and that he can no longer handle the situation anymore. When I asked him why he didn't speak to his teacher he told me "mommy, she says that if we tell on our friends we are doing a bad thing". My son has a warm and loving kindergarten teacher. I know without a doubt that if she knew how my son was feeling, she would want to know. Unfortunately children do not see or understand that fine line between what is unimportant "tattling" and what is critical communication.

I think we miss a very important teaching opportunity when we ban wholesale "tattling". Until the child is able to understand fully understand the concept, we must be willing and able to listen (and to explain) so that the child is heard. However annoying these endless "tattles" may be, it is far more important that a child feels that they can trust their teacher and will not be afraid of a consequence of speaking out.

Children who come to an adult for assistance should be heard and respected. Regardless of how appropriate their statements are, they are only doing the best they can with their situation. They are putting their trust in an adult and asking for help. Failing to hear has consequences for everyone - and sends the wrong message to the most vulnerable people in our society - our children.



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