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Sick and tired of other people's kids telling tales

(14 Posts)
gaelicsheep Sun 29-May-11 21:03:49

Hi. Not been around here for a while, but this is really rattling me. My DS is nearly 5 and, like all boys, can get a little over excited and boistrous on occasions. He was at a party today and no less than three kids came up tp me to tell tales on him - he pushed me, he pinched me, etc. I was watching what was going on and he did nothing worse than any other child. They were all just playing as kids do.

The problem is it is so one sided. My DS will never tell anyone, even if another child really hurts him. I hate that I always feel I have to discipline him, to appease the other kid/parent, and yet it never works the other way.

How would you handle this? The last thing I want is to turn him into a tell tale too but I feel really sorry for him right now.

Al1son Sun 29-May-11 22:46:10

Sorry but pinching another child is not just playing. If they were all doing it someone should have been addressing it but that's no excuse for your DS. Pushing could be accidental but may well not be and that's not acceptable either.

If he is pushing and pinching other children they should tell you and you should intervene so that he can learn that it is unacceptable.

If others are doing it to him he should tell them that he doesn't like it and if they continue he should tell an adult. Otherwise how do they learn to behave appropriately?

If I feel that another child needs to be disciplined and their parent is not doing it I will speak to both children together and make sure they both know what is acceptable behaviour. I wouldn't speak to the other child on his or her own but if I'm saying the same thing to my own I think it would be hard for a parent to take issue.

Carrotsandcelery Sun 29-May-11 22:54:06

I have the same problem in an exaggerated form. Ds makes mistakes and other children tell on him. They make the same mistakes and ds doesn't say anything as he likes the child who has done it and doesn't want to get them into trouble.

Luckily his teacher has figured this out and no longer makes a big fuss when kids tell on him. I think it is the telling offs that escalate the situation. The other kids get it into their heads that certain children can get told off and then it is relentless, even if those tell tales are doing the same thing.

Personally, I have learned not to dive in to appease other parents or the tell tales. I have even been known to tell a kid that I did see them do X to ds so they shouldn't be complaining that he did x back.

That caused a few blushes for some other mums but enough is enough.

xxsaralouxxx Mon 30-May-11 08:25:05

I totally agree all children love the chance to get their friends into trouble!!! I would keep on as u are and watch what's going on - if a child comes up to u and says 'he pinched me' you can then say 'yes but you were winding him up' Then explain to ur son he shouldn't pinch and, personally, I would say to the other child that if hey didn't do stuff to him he wouldn't pinch/push/hit them over the head with a small hammer!! At this age it's very rare for a child to lash out for no reason so don't worry - it's also not unusual to tell tales! I work in a classroom with 32 4-5 yr olds and it's constant!grin

ninani Mon 30-May-11 16:09:56

If a child does something wrong to your son you can correct them firmly and calmly without anyone having to tell you first. If anything bothers you you can always tell the other child like "that's not nice" or "this hurts, please play nicely smile " and try to tell your son "sorry, I didn't see you being hit/hurt, next time plese DO tell me, mummy doesn't want you to get hurt" etc. You can also mention it to the other child's mother "oh he is hitting him" or mutter it before you go to talk to the misbehaving child.

You can also mention it to the child when he comes to complain about your own son so he and his mum can hear the naughty thing AND also hear about your son not complaining: "please don't pinch him, it's not nice and because DS does not complain it doens't mean that he enjoys it".

I know it's not the same like when the other mother intervenes and tells her child off but you can't let your child get bitten, punched etc. because the others want to sit and chat and leave their little precious ones unpunished.

jamaisjedors Mon 30-May-11 16:18:12

I'm afraid your child sounds like one of my friend's children. I can't say this to her and we all play it down because we don't want to hurt her feelings BUT...

Pushing and pinching is NEVER acceptable and you sound like you are explaining it away with "boisterousness".

My experience of this is that other children will let it go if it happens once or twice or is the exception, but if the pincher/pusher is often like this, they will go to the adults at once for the slightest thing.

This can be wearing, but it is caused by the fact that these are not one-off incidents.

You HAVE to take your child away in these situations and make it clear to them that it is NOT on.

BTW I have one child who wouldn't hurt a fly, and another who initially used physical force to get his own way. We have plugged away at this and now rarely have a problem with it.

Solola Mon 30-May-11 19:29:05

Your son sounds like my son and I posted on here a month or so ago after having similar experiences. It can be very frustrating when all the children are behaving similarly as typical 4/5 year olds but some tell over every little thing and others seem able to handle it on their own. I found it particularly annoying when the tale teller would come and tell me with a look of excitement on their face, anticipating the telling off my son would get!

The best advice I got was just to say to the tell tale 'wow!' and leave it at that! (This is, of course, if you are sure no-one is being hurt or frightened, which it sounds like you were as you were watching what was going on anyway).

activate Mon 30-May-11 19:31:19

try "Oh dear, well tell him to stop"

and then continue with your tea / chat

kids don't care what you do they just want to tell

Al1son Tue 31-May-11 11:04:28

Well, looking at the responses on this thread I now understand why there are so many children around who have no idea that violence is an unacceptable way to express your frustrations!

Pinching and pushing other children is only normal for 2 and maybe 3 years. By 4 or 5 they should have more mature social skills and emotional literacy and have learned to keep their hands to themselves. It is our job as parents to teach them. Clearly the more emotionally mature children are telling 'tales' because they would have been challenged by their own parents had they done something similar.

At this age a child is old enough to moderate their own behaviour regardless of what is happening around him or her. I would expect a 4 year old boy to refrain from pinching others even if another child has pinched him. I would offer examples of alternative strategies open to him so he understands how better to deal with it next time. They are really important life skills and it's never too early to learn them.

If you offer excuse for your child's unacceptable behaviour at 4 you'll still be doing it when he's 17 and that doesn't make for a pretty picture. Nobody would tell me that it was OK to drive aggressively because someone around me was doing it. I have to take responsibility for my own actions.

What if there were a child with learning difficulties in there who was pushing others because he doesn't understand social boundaries? Is it OK for your DS to give him a good pinch to make himself feel better or would you prefer him to come and talk to you so you can help him understand the situation and learn how better to approach it? I would imagine there would be a parent not too far away trying to help the other little boy learn to behave appropriately.

The problem is not that the other children are telling tales. The problem, OP, is that your son is behaving unacceptably and you don't want to keep hearing about it. At what point would you like to hear? What level of violence is unacceptable? How old will he be when pushing and pinching is not OK and how will you let him know?

It is not hard to say "Right xxxx. If another child comes and tells me that you have pinched someone we will leave straight away." You just follow it through and next time there will be no 'tales' for the other children to tell.

NeverendingStoryteller Tue 31-May-11 12:37:53

I have a heavy-handed 5 year old boy, too, so I totally appreciate the frustration! However, there are certain hurting behaviours that are completely not OK - pinching is one of them and will have him extracted from the game immediately, and he will have to give an apology to the other child and their parent if I see it, or see evidence of it. We have a zero tolerance to 'real' hurting.

However, much of my son's play is just a bit on the rough and tumble side, and I have found it useful to select play dates based on how well the other child and the other parents can handle the rough play. I am very lucky to have 3 or 4 other mums (and their kids) in our area who play at around the same 'level' as my son. The other mums appreciate that I don't freak out when it gets a bit rough and that they don't have to apologise all the time, and I am always so pleased when I'm not constantly having to deal with 'concerns' from other mums about the level of roughness. We let them get on with it, and intervene only if a child deliberately hurts another. Usually, we find that they all get on and they give as good as they get - tales for minor things aren't usually tolerated - we just say 'oh, well, get back to the game now so you don't miss out', or similar.

I completely appreciate that other children sometimes use tale telling as a way of getting adult attention - especially if they have seen you discipline your kid as a result of someone else 'telling'. If you're sure that the other child has not actually been hurt, I agree that it's perfectly OK to send the tell-tale child away with an 'oh, well' kind of response.

Good luck - I understand where you're coming from!

jamaisjedors Tue 31-May-11 12:52:04

Neverending... "there are certain hurting behaviours that are completely not OK"

For me NO hurting behaviour is ok.

Is it because you have a boy that you think "a bit of rough play" is ok?

Would you be the same if you had a girl?

I agree with Al1son here, and shocked that some of you just let these things lie. It's all a bit "boys will be boys"... shock

Al1son Tue 31-May-11 13:40:37

Rough and tumble play is important and when all children are happy and not getting hurt or frightened it is a great form of play. However once a child is approaching adults for support because boundaries have been crossed the adult should intervene and help all the children to learn from the experience. Children are very good at moderating their behaviour to prevent their playmates from getting hurt and they are also happy to accept excuses offered to them by parents who don't want to see that they are hurting others on purpose.

You don't have to be unpleasant to show the child how to behave. If another child came to me and said that mine had hurt them and I was not sure if it was deliberate I would call mine over, explain that they had hurt the other child. I would explain how that child may feel and ask them to make amends in an appropriate way. My open disapproval is not necessary. I just have to be bothered enough to call my child's attention to the fact that it is not acceptable behaviour. If you are consistent in dealing with it your own child will soon realise that it's not worth hurting others because you'll just get dragged away to listen to explanations of why it's not OK to do it.

Children whose parents can't be bothered to do this don't learn and have to find out the hard way by being in trouble at school.

Sending 'tell tale' children away unheeded gives bullies a free rein.

NeverendingStoryteller Tue 31-May-11 14:39:35

Um, some of our 'rough and tumble' friends are girls...

It's more about 'kids will be kids' - I just happen to have boys smile

Sometimes kids say they have been hurt for the attention, or to get another one in trouble, especially when they see one parent, more than the others in the group, addressing the tale telling. If you're watching, I'm sure you can tell the difference between a child being hurt and a child who is coming to tell tales to stir up a bit of bother.

thebeansmum Tue 31-May-11 14:52:05

Having four gorgeous nieces that are hell-bent on being 'tell tales' at every possible opportunity, yes, it is annoying. However I would rather know than not know if either of my sons were behaving in an aggressive manner. Better this than my sister being upset at stories told about their behaviour when we've left! Again, I agree with you Al1son, NO pinching, kicking etc is acceptable - it should be totally non-negotiable from an early enough age that they can understand.

The only person that I know who uses 'boys will be boys' has a DS without any SN who is now being left out of things like parties and playground games because of the aggression - all the other kids are just pissed off now with the never-ending horrid things he does that go seemingly unpunished by his parents.

I know the 'tell-talers' are smug and annoying, but they're not going to go away unless your boy changes!

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