In our house, everyone knows the rules. My husband is a preschool teacher who’s trained in Behavioral Science. He’s a very hands-on parent, for which I am grateful! I love the life lessons and boundaries he’s teaching our kids while I work 9 to 5. I’m often amazed at how well they behave in social settings and give my husband a tremendous amount of credit for that!
Lately, however, I have noticed that my daughter has turned into a giant tattletale. She’s taken what she’s learned at home, out into the world, and tries to police everyone she meets. Whether it’s at school or the park, she’s quick to point out what everyone else is doing wrong! So much for making mom friends! My daughter is the one scolding your child for cutting in line or using a naughty word!
It’s also affecting her ability to make friends. “Do you like any of the girls in your new gymnastics class?” I recently asked. Her reply was, “Well, I thought one girl would be my friend, but she wasn’t listening to the teacher, so I guess not.”
At home, it’s a constant barrage of tattling. Occasionally, I’ll let a curse word slip only to have her scold me! With her brother, it’s unrelenting. “Mommy, Miles threw his iPad!” or, “Mommy Miles said a potty word!”
My husband loves the fact that she’s keeping her brother in check, but I can’t help worry that we’re raising a little squealer. She’s heading into Kindergarten next year. Will this affect her ability to fit in? Will she alienate herself and not understand why?
It’s a fine line we’re straddling, educating her on right versus wrong, while also teaching when to make something a big deal. We always ask, “Is this a big problem or a little problem?” Not everything is worth enforcing.
We are also trying to teach her that she can only oversee herself. It’s not her place to regulate others. If she really thinks something is a big deal, she should talk to an adult and let them discipline. If she is following the rules, that’s all she needs to worry about!
It often feels like these lessons are missing their mark. She’s only 4, and in her mind, a rule is a rule with no grey area. She has no regard for social cues or how her words can make someone feel. She stands firm in her convictions! Her tenacity can be one of her best traits!
I’m sure one day, my daughter will go into law enforcement, but for now, you can find her proudly policing the playground. I apologize if she scolds your child, but I promise her heart is in the right place!