Do you have tattlers????
With my four boys, I had ONE tattler. It was very strange, we did not have a tattling problem until the youngest became old enough to tattle, and and when he did, we went from zero to 60. OMG..it was horrid. That one child caused the disease to spread through my house to epidemic proportions in a matter of months. It was like my other kids realized this magic little skill and went, "Wow...watch how we can make moms head spin when we do THIS!"
I could hear him coming, and could tell by the way his feet touched the 100 year old steps in of the staircase in our old victorian that he was coming to tattle. Maybe the stairs, with their years of experience with tattling children, were tattling in their own way? When only he would be coming.....then a few seconds later I would hear the other kids come running behind him because they realized "The Tattler" was on his way to tell mom something and they'd better hurry to defend themselves, so they'd be tripping over each other to catch up to him....I knew what was coming.
Finally I could take it no more. The whole, "Are you bleeding? Is anyone bleeding? Is everyone breathing? Does anything require a bandaid or ambulance?" thing just got old.
Operation discipline the tattler went into effect.
I called a family meeting. I had discovered that I needed to tell everyone ahead of time, BEFORE an incident happened, that I was changing the rules. This is only fair rules of engagement, after all!
The family meeting began:
"From now on there is a new rule in the house. It is called The Tattler's Rule. This means that the person who caused the problem will get into disciplined, but the person who tattled will get the same discipline! It is wrong for a brother to take a toy, and it is wrong to tattle. BOTH things are wrong. Lets practice what this will look like if we do this the wrong way. (this is where Daddy and I would role play the hitting or toy stealing, and the subsequent tattling and disciplining of BOTH children. Then we role played it the other way around with the toy taking, talking to the brother amongst themselves, and the fun play goes on!)
It took about 3 days and several follow-throughs on my part before The Tattlers Rule rule really sunk in, but it DID, and tattling became a thing of the past in our house! I'm frequently reminded of it when I visit the homes of friends and they have a houseful of kids tattling non-stop. I'm not used to it anymore, since I have just one kid at home. I'm sure I'll have to start all over when Ianna comes home and Angela has to learn that sharing thing all over again...at 14!!!!