I’ve got one in my pair, do you?
My daughter, Rebecca, has always been more of the goody-two-shoes than her brother. Which is not to say that she isn’t clever and sneaky and a challenge in her own way, of course. But for the most part, she’s a rule-follower. In fact, I would go so far as to say she loves rules. In part, she loves following rules simply because she likes to be able to point out how well-behaved she is. But just as much, she loves enforcing the rules on others. In particular, her brother.
If the two of them are playing together in the other room, you will frequently hear her bossing him around, telling him exactly what to do and how to do it. And boy, if he gets out of line…
“DAN! Stop jumping!”
“DAN! NO! NO JUMPING!”
“MOM! DAN’S JUMPING ON THE COUCH!”
On the one hand, I won’t lie, it’s kind of handy to have a tattle-tale in the bunch. Oh sure, she sometimes gets caught red-handed at something nefarious, too. But the truth is that her brother is more likely to attempt something dangerous, or do whatever it is I’ve told him not to do 100 times before. So I don’t really mind having her be an extra pair of eyes to make sure nothing valuable gets dropped into the floor vents.
On the other hand, the tattling is getting a little annoying. Sometimes, when she whines “Mom, Daniel just ….,” I want to shout back, “work it out!” And there are times when I doubt the complete truth of what she says. Believe me, she will not hesitate to throw him under the bus at the slightest provocation. While he may have done whatever it is she has accused him of, it’s quite possible she had a hand in the wrongdoing as well. An interesting sibling dynamic at work, to be sure.
And yet, I’m not sure I want to squash the tattling. Yes, it can be annoying. But do I really want to have her STOP telling me when something is going wrong, even if right now it’s awfully minor? What about the day when it’s something big, and I absolutely DO want her to say something?
How do you handle tattling in your house?