Tattletales over time, why kids tattle and when it’s okay


(NEWS10) — It is an all too familiar phrase that every parent has, at one time or another heard, “I’m telling!” Is tattling a normal part of childhood, or just a problem in the making? 

According to Kate Eshleman, PsyD, of Cleveland Clinic Children’s, for young children, during early childhood, tattling does not have a large impact on a child’s relationship with their peers, but as they get older, they should be able to better problem-solve on their own without the aid of an adult. 

It is still important to teach children when it is appropriate to go to an adult about an issue they may be having.   

“We want children to be prepared to know how to respond in a serious safety event. So, whether that’s somebody doing something to them, or if they see somebody else being harmed. We want them to know that those are appropriate things they should speak up about,” Eshleman said. 

She also added that when children are young, they are still learning that there are different levels of “fair” and they might not always get everything their way. However, a child’s ability to tolerate what is perceived to be “fair” or “unfair” does increase over time.  

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