How do you discipline your child when she tattles out of revenge? If her tattling smells like jealousy, you know something ugly is cooking. Perhaps a boiling anger is bubbling within her.
Let's pretend your Jackie thinks little Bobby is your favorite. She whines, "You love Bobby more than me!"
Jackie won't play with Bobby. She won't talk to him either. She tattles whenever he plays with her things. You yell, "Let Bobby have it!" Jackie stomps off screaming, "You let him get away with everything." You've heard this more than once.
Why Jackie Tattles and What Jackie Wants:
To find out, ask yourself these 3 questions -
- Is Jackie tattling out of revenge?
- Does she want to get Bobby in trouble because she's jealous?
- Do I show more love to Bobby than to Jackie?
The answers to these questions will help you understand Jackie's motives. Once you know, ask yourself, "How would I feel if I were Jackie?" Walk around in her skin for a while.
How Can Jackie Get What She Wants without Tattling?
Get down to Jackie's bottom line. Of course, she's jealous. Of course, she wants revenge. But what is it that Jackie really wants?
Jackie wants to feel like she fits inside your heart just as much or more than her little brother.
Discipline for Tattle Tales Who Want Revenge:
Don't give in to Jackie's tattles. Don't prove you love Bobby more either. Think before you handle Jackie's tattles. Realize that you're jumping in and scolding reinforces Jackie's tattling. Why? It proves to her that she's right. It proves you love Bobby more. It justifies her meanness to Bobby.
- Be fair to Bobby and Jackie in what you say and do.
- At pleasant times, go for a walk with Jackie. Ask her, "What do you really want by tattling on Bobby?" If she says, "I don't know." Ask her to guess. Get her to admit her jealously. Then discuss it.
- Find ways to show Jackie you love her. Spend one-on-one time with her. Have fun. Let her know how special she is by often catching her being good. Don't be surprised if she treats Bobby better too.
If you follow these suggestions, you'll be giving Jackie what she really wants– your love.
Our next blog will deal with tattling kids who want to prove they're weak. To make sure you get it, sign up at Parenting Skills Blog and receive it by email.
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