Every time I go to my sister’s house, I notice that my niece and nephew tattle on each other. And when they do, it starts a minor squabble. It’s not a big deal – they’re young so they’re not telling anything more important than this one ate candy, or that one was watching TV, etc. – but I’d like them to stop.
My kids are much older, in their 20s, and I don’t remember this type of petty quarrelling among them, though they had their moments. I’d like to help my sister, but I don’t want to step on her toes.
I know it bothers her when they tell on each other because she rolls her eyes at me, and then gets upset with them. How can I help her?
Tattle-telling (or tattling, tale-telling) is not completely a bad thing. A child who tells on another who has done something wrong (or wrong in their eyes, maybe yours) is a child who can tell the difference between right and wrong.
In this case, the siblings may be looking to get “points” in their parents’ favour. They may also be jealous of their different rules, based on age or other factors.
You didn’t say how young but really young kids are very aware of rules and can become agitated when others aren’t following the rules, so they tell on them.
Since these kids are siblings, they may just be trying to get the other one in trouble for something he/she did to them at an earlier date.
Suggest to your sister that she talk to them together, explaining that they don’t need to tell on each other. Better would be, if one sees the other doing something “wrong” to remind him or her that what they’re doing is not allowed, and that mom wouldn’t like it.
As long as it’s not something dangerous, they should try to work it out together.
FEEDBACK Regarding the employee annoyed with his vacationing boss (March 15):
Reader – “They’re at home slogging away!? Thanks to this employer they have a great job with vacation and no one should be feeling sorry for themselves.
“This man is a widower, family grown and gone, and he enjoys vacationing with family. Perhaps it’s a little overkill, but why not just smile, wish him well and continue on with their work. They’re all going to get their vacation as well.
“I am CEO of a small firm; my people share their vacation photos and we are so happy for them. They’re having a great time. It gets us excited. We wish them well and know that our time will come.
“Just be grateful that this man has employed you and, for the most part, you love and respect him. Hopefully he has earned that and you can humour him while he is on vacation.”
Reader #2 – “I suggest he says a polite thank you for thinking of his employees on his holiday. What is the big deal about a few photos? Can the employee not delete photos he finds so objectionable?
“The boss, being a widower and travelling by himself, seems to be enjoying himself, but he could possibly be lonely and this is his way of connecting to people he knows. Travelling alone as a widow/widower is not always a great experience. It can be lonely with no one to share the excitement, experiences and thoughts on a lovely vacation that one has looked forward to with much anticipation. The photos may tell only half the story.”
My uncle is fading fast. He’s 90, frail and tires easily. My aunt is much younger and doing her best to care for him. But I can see that she’s exhausted and exasperated.
Two of my cousins live out of country, the other two live in town. One is very hands-off when it comes to his parents. He says they don’t need anyone else’s help.
My one cousin sees clearly that they do need help, but can’t afford to pay for it on his own. How can I help?
Look at all the options with your cousin. Then, with him, talk to his parents and see what they’re willing to accept, help-wise. Come up with a plan, and a cost for that plan. Then your cousin should talk to his siblings about sharing the cost.
Even if one doesn’t want to help, the other two should be able to convince him/her, or cover their portion.