Most parents know to tell their children not to tattle. It is not always clear what tattling is. It can be helpful to explain that tattling is when the child reports something that doesn’t hurt them and doesn’t hurt the child doing the behavior. An example of tattling is saying to a teacher that someone else said a “bad word” on the playground.
On the other hand, it is extremely important for children to learn when to tell a grown up. A child should tell a grown up when the child needs help, or when they, or another child is in danger or needs help. An example of telling is when a child tells a teacher that another child is talking to a stranger, or tells a parent that baby sister is touching an electrical outlet.
Key idea: The more clearly parents explain instructions to children, the more likely the child will be successful in complying.