My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

"telling tales"

11 replies

seeker · 04/04/2009 10:35

Whst do people tell their children about telling tales? We have a mantra in our house "You only tell tales if you or someone else is really hurt or really upset"

My ds got into big trouble at school yesterday - once because he was crawling under some bushes in an out-of bounds bit of their field (out of bounds very sensibly because it gets very muddy very quickly) and one of his friends told the teacher. Then, after he was told off, someone teased him for being a cry-baby, he told her to shut up and someone else told on him and he got sent to the Head. The person he told to shut up said "OK then" and got on with her work!

I have no problem with him being told off - I'm just interested in the tale telling. If one of mine had told a teacher in either of the circumstances I've described (and I know I've got the whole story because both the tale tellers told me about it in the playground later!!) I would be telling them they shouldn't have. What do people think?

OP posts:
verygreenlawn · 04/04/2009 10:48

There's something that really grates on me about telling tales - I think it's because when we were young we were encouraged to sort out our differences and not expect anyone else to referee. As you say, it's completely different if there is bullying or someone is hurt. I also wonder how teachers can respond to tales when realistically they may only get half of the story, but I guess that's a judgement call.

Certainly with the two of my dcs who are school age, I encourage them only to tell the teacher if something is happening to them or another child that they can't sort peacefully amongst themselves.

I sometimes take another little boy home who pesters me the whole journey with "X's mummy, your ds2 is laughing" because ds2 is laughing while reading his book or some such nonsense. Drives me mad!

PlumBumMum · 04/04/2009 11:04

Yeap seeker we are the same in our house, and often the tale teller gets told off for telling tales(say that after a few drinks )

like verygreenlawn I would encourage them abit more to go to the teacher but only if it involes something that is directly affecting them,

in the instance you describe it had nothing to do with the other person wiether your ds was doing something wrong, he wasn't hurting anyone else just risking geting himself in trouble

smee · 04/04/2009 11:05

It depends on the school. For example, DS is in reception and they're very hardline on any name calling. The kids know words like "idiot, shut up, cry baby" etc are out. Children are told to say 'you shouldn't say that, it's not nice' (ie sort it themselves),then if it persists to tell a grown up. Tbh, I thought it a bit ott, but now I realise it's good as it's about creating a school community where kids stand up for themselves and know being mean even verbally isn't acceptable. It seems to work as the school's lovely (mostly!). Sounds like your son was punished unfairly though, as he name called in reaction to someone being mean to him and to send him to the Head seems very ott. Just curious, but are you sure you know all the story..?

Elibean · 04/04/2009 14:19

Being sent to the Head for saying 'shut up' sounds totally OTT to me! How old is your ds? dd's school is very anti name-calling, but teachers will deal with things like that by saying 'x, thats not very nice, we do'nt say 'shut up' - and y, get on with your work, thats not very nice either'. Or some such.

I think age has a lot to do with it. dd1 is in Reception, and kids are actively encouraged to tell teachers if they or one of their friends are upset - at that age, they can't really differentiate between whats important to tell, and what isn't (at least, not all of them can) so I guess its better to err on the side of safety. The girls, in particular, are constantly 'telling' - they sort of police each other, its quite funny.

tbh, overall I'm glad, because I think learning to tell at a young age, then curbing that and learning what not to tell, is the right way round...but its v annoying at times, for sure!

hotcrosspurepurple · 04/04/2009 14:38

I spend all day with pre-schoolers and have to listen to "so and so did..."
drives me nuts
I tell them it's not nice to tell tales
I only act on something if I have seen it with my own eyes as children only tell half the story

they know the boundaries and they know they can get each other into trouble
they love to see someone else get told off!

seeker · 04/04/2009 15:49

I do have the whole story because I got it in gruesome and gory detail from everyone involved at home time.

They are in year 3, by the way.

I missed a bit out. He was sent to the Head because the girl who told on him said he swore at the other girl, and the teacher took her word for it without investigating. Not like her - she's at the end of a long hard term too! The girl involves said to me later "Well, shut up is the same as swearing, isn't it?" I could have slapped her!

OP posts:
hotcrosspurepurple · 04/04/2009 15:58

don't we just boil at the injustice meted out to our children
it does sound unfair on your child

but, at least he has learnt a lesson about consequences, so if he did want to swear at someone or tell them to shut up, for that matter, hopefully he will remember this episode

it's all a learning experience and life isn't always fair

piscesmoon · 04/04/2009 16:22

Some classes do it all the time and it drives me batty! Of course they should tell if they they have a real cause for upset, but often it is just to get someone else in trouble! As I point out it would be much better to set a good example themselves and then people would copy. Those 'telling' are generally the ones doing the wrong thing themselves! You often hear them having an argument and then someone, often the one in the wrong, will say "I'm telling". They then appear and proceed to 'tell' me all about someone else's misdeeds and are somewhat surprised when I ask what they were doing!
If they are very bad I have been driven to saying that they have to have a positive thing to say as well as a negative!
It is a bit like crying wolf-if a DC who never tells tales suddenly tells you something, you take it seriously.

piscesmoon · 04/04/2009 16:23

I mean very bad at telling tales.

JuxaLOTmoreChocolate · 04/04/2009 17:03

DD's first school had a behaviour charter thingy which had a list as long as your arm of things they shouldn't do (name calling and such) and stipulated that if someone did any of them, the teacher should be told. There were certainly a few of us mums who were worried about teaching kids to be tattle tales, but we'd all had to sign it and promise to support the school. It was pretty ghastly.

At no point was there a suggestion of sorting it out for themselves. It must have driven the teachers balmy; no sympathy, brought it on themselves. (We moved dd to a different school years ago.)

slayerette · 04/04/2009 17:07

I am trying to teach my DS (Year 1) about when to tell and when to try to sort it out for himself. But if I tell him not to tell tales, he says 'But I'm not! It's true!'

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.