Tag Archives: bullying

The Fallacy of Being a Tattletale

Boy Called a Tattletale at DaycareThere is something that has bugged me for some time as a parent: how to discipline a child for being a “tattletale”. It seemed kind of strange that a parent, teacher, or daycare provider would discipline the child that “tattled” to them regarding another child’s bad behavior instead of the child who is actually behaving badly. I dismissed this as “just what we do” for so long but that nagging feeling about this idea persists. As a parent, I have avoided it because it made me feel uncomfortable but I never realized why until now.

It’s Just Plain Laziness

First of all, children need to know what is right and wrong and it isn’t up to them to decide. Parents and daycare providers are supposed to do this. It is in fact one of the main jobs of being a parent or provider. Whether it is something huge like playing with matches or something small like not playing nice, it is the provider’s job to make the judgment, not the child’s. When the child who “tattled” is disciplined instead of the one actually being bad, it sends the message that we don’t care enough to step in and help when they can’t help themselves, or when they don’t quite know what to do.

Parents and Providers Need to Teach

We should not expect children to make decisions in arguments when they are so young. By the time children are old enough to know the difference between right and wrong regarding a certain situation, they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. So the parents and providers should get involved to take care of the issue. Whether the situation is something new or old, huge or mundane, it is our responsibility as parents and providers to help them work through these situations.

It’s Name Calling

As simple as this point might seem, it is still valid. Calling a child a tattletale is name calling. Name calling at any time, for any reason, is wrong. It’s as simple as that.

Children Should Always Be Able to Talk

This is one of the most important points of this whole thing. A child should always, 100 percent of the time, feel safe about coming to a parent or daycare provider about anything. And I do mean anything. Parents and daycare providers can’t know or anticipate all of the situations a child might encounter and you do not want children to ever hesitate to talk to you. What if something bad happened to a child and they did not talk to anyone about it because they thought someone might call them a “tattletale”?

A Bully’s Playground

When children are disciplined and called “tattletales”, it opens the door for all kinds of other terrible things to happen. If a bully or an adult knows that a child will get in trouble for tattling, they can easily use that leverage to pick on and otherwise torment a child. They know the children who live under “no tattling” rules will hesitate to speak out when something is wrong. This is a terrible and easily abused situation which could be avoided if we would all agree that it is a good thing to speak out when something is wrong.

No More Tattletales

I hope that this list of reason is enough to illustrate why the whole idea of calling a child, or anyone else for that matter, a “tattletale”, is wrong. This can have far-reaching consequences even throughout adulthood. We are the parents and daycare providers for children and we must make sure that the children are always able to speak to us no matter what. As parents and daycare providers both, we need to take the pledge to end the destructive habit of calling children “tattletales” and take the time resolve whatever situation might be at hand. We owe it our children and their futures.

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Situations with Other Children in Daycare or Preschool

Biting and Hiting

daycare_bullySome children may bite or hit. Their parents are generally just as horrified by it as you are.  As they and your child’s daycare provider or preschool teacher are working on the problem, it may help to realize that for children under 3, it is a way to communicate their frustration or wanting a toy from another child. It may take a little while for the parent and daycare provider to work through the issue with the child. If the child seems overly aggressive you will need to make a decision for the welfare of your child. Whatever you decide, handling the situation with grace and compassion will go a long way in the eyes of the other child’s parents.


Some situations require that parents of children in the same daycare discuss the issue.  This may seem awkward, but if the provider can help both sets of parents, as well as the children involved, come to a solution, it may lead to a better environment for all.


We know bullying occurs in school-age children, but it may also appear in daycare and preschools.  It may not be constant, and it may not be to the degree that older children bully, but be sure to take your child seriously if he or she talks about experiencing this kind of behavior from another child. The first thing to do is listen and show love and support to your child. When you speak to your child, find out if there are certain times or circumstances during which the offending child begins bullying your child. Ask your child how he or she responds to the behavior. Perhaps you can offer some suggestions for your child to deal with the situation. It’s a good idea to talk to the provider about the situation. Perhaps he or she can offer some suggestions or let you know what the daycare is doing about the child if they already know about it.

Keep in mind; bullying shouldn’t be trivialized as “kids being kids”. This type of situation can be very harmful to the victim. Also, a child who is emerging as a bully can perhaps be more easily set back on track than a child who has been displaying the behavior for years. Early intervention for all children involved may save a lot of heartache in the future and is very important for child development.

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