reineke wrote:I just finished reading a sad story about a 13-year-old Polish boy who took his own life after being bullied for looking "gay". He was beaten but he pretended to have a stomach ache so as not to "snitch".
Young kids are more likely to tattle. Later it becomes a social no-no. I don't think Polish kids are different in this respect.
“In early childhood, it’s normal for kids to share social problems with parents,” says psychologist and school consultant Michael Thompson, author of Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children. At times, they legitimately need our help resolving disputes and soothing hurt feelings.
But by second grade, inviting adults into social conflicts is clearly not cool. Perhaps because this is also the age, around 7 or 8, when a child has the ability to distinguish between what does and doesn’t need to be told.
“Kids who tattle get labeled – tattletale, squealer, snitch – and left out,” says Thompson. Bringing infractions to an adult’s attention sets your kid up for friendship failure.
...Parents may assume kids tattle because they don’t feel empowered to stick up for themselves, says Fran Walfish, a child and adolescent psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, California. That’s not true.
“Kids tattle because they’ve developed a strong sense of right and wrong and they start policing other people,” says Walfish. Tattletales suffer from an overdose of conscience..."
The most prominent reason is a developmental stage called “rule-governed behavior.” Somewhere around 5, kids begin to understand there are rules to be followed – but they don’t have the capacity to distinguish between major and minor rule-breaking. The result is that every broken rule is brought to an adult’s attention.
How to respond
It seems obvious: Giving attention to a child who tattles will only reward her for it. But experts say parents shouldn’t dismiss kids’ reports or tell them to “Get over it.” Sometimes, kids just want a safe place to share their concerns.
“Kids won’t say, ‘I need you to listen to this and be outraged on my behalf and then do absolutely nothing,'” says Thompson, “but 90 percent of the time that is what they want.”
Here are nine tips to help you with your little tattletale:
Consider motivation. Look at what prompted the tattling. Is the child speaking up because he knows a rule has been broken but hasn’t developed the cognitive skills to understand when it’s important to and not to tell? Does he lack the social skills needed to resolve problems on his own? Kids also may tattle if they feel something is unfair, to get another child in trouble, for attention or approval, or for deflection.
Brush aside but don’t boot..."
"Children are unrepentant tattletales. And when your kid’s big mouth tosses the blame at your feet, it’s tempting to chalk up their bald-faced honesty to self-preservation. Why did your son tell your wife that you broke that fancy dish? Because he was afraid she’d blame him! But a new study in Social Development reports that children tattle even when they know they cannot be blamed for a transgression. The results suggest kids tattle to reinforce social norms, not to save their own skin.
“Children tattle about third-party moral transgressions even when they cannot be held responsible for those transgressions, suggesting that children’s tattling serves cooperative rather than self-serving functions,” according to the study. “This highlights the impressive ways in which children enforce moral norms and thus help maintain cooperation.”
https://www.fatherly.com/health-science ... le-snitch/
Thank you so much for this. I often get accused of "thinking to deeply" about things, especially behavior. However, these last few weeks have been a whirl-wind and I've functioning on auto-pilot for everything not related to my job / future income.
This was exactly the kind of thing I needed to read. I'm going to think about this some more, and I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
Today, I asked 3 teachers about the "snitching" that was so rampant. Two of the Polish teachers said the same thing, that it was ridiculous. One blamed it on being a private school, and the other just shook her head in disapproval. I then a third time today asked an American teacher, and he said, "I must say 80 times a day to these kids that they need to stop snitching."
ALSO TODAY: I caught a girl cheating on a quiz. She denied it at first. Then she broke out in Polish, "FINE, I ADMIT I TRIED TO A LITTLE BIT, BUT "MARTA(not the actual name)" HELPED ME!" (I saw her pestering "marta" and "marta" was nervous and didn't want to do it, but the "cheater" is one of the "cool kids".)
I actually got angry. I told her cheating is one thing, but betraying someone who takes a risk to help you is despicable. I told her I didn't want to speak to her anymore, and let her sit in shame for the next hour.
I'm teaching these young kids stupid basic english words like "T-Shirt" that they'll learn anyway through continued immersion. What's more important is life skills.