Author Topic: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children  (Read 7338 times)

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yokozbornak

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When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« on: September 08, 2012, 05:43:40 PM »
Tattle may not be the best word, but how do you handle it when another parent feels the need to constantly tell on your child? 

I have two daughters, one in elementary school and one in preschool.  They are good kids and seem to be well-like by their teachers and peers.  They are generally well-behaved although I know they aren't perfect.  I have always tried to stay out of playground squabbles and would never call call another parent to complain about their child unless it was a bullying situation or the child was doing something that might be harmful.  I have come to realize that not every parent is the same way.

My ODD is friend's with a little girl at school named Shannon.    ODD has said to me that Shannon can be a bit bossy so sometimes she doesn't want to play with her, but they generally get a long well.  The problem is Shannon's mother.  We are acquainted with one another, and every time I run into her she wants to tell on her.  It's usually things like "ODD didn't play with Shannon on the playground today" or "ODD said that Shannon had fluffy hair"  or "ODD didn't pick Shannon first for her team."

I can tell from the way that she tells me those things that she wants my daughter to get in trouble.  I have asked ODD about it, and it all seems like regular kid stuff to me.  I even discreetly asked the teacher last year if she noticed anything in ODD behavior towards Shannon that I need to address and she said no. I thought the problem would go away since they are no longer in the same class, but I ran into her recently and she let me know something silly that ODD had done on the playground.  Also, another friend told me that Shannon's mother does the exact same thing to her and her daughter so I definitely don't think that my daughter is doing anything out of line. I have been saying, 'Thank you for telling me, " but frankly, I am tired of it. 

Do you have any good responses?  I have though about simply asking her why she thinks I need to know that or why she is telling me that, but I don't want to be rude and confrontational.    I have also been tempted to say things like, "Well, she didn't play with Shannon because sometimes she finds her to be overbearing and bossy", but I feel like it would be retaliatory rudeness.

« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 05:53:44 PM by yokozbornak »

snowdragon

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 05:49:38 PM »
I suppose "Oh, grow up" would be rude? >:D 

Seriously, I would go with some variant of "Than you for your interest, we are encouraging ODD to solve her own problems on the playground. "

cheyne

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 06:09:05 PM »
It sounds like ShannonsMom is trying to make her daughter be the focus of ODD's attention.  Perhaps she thinks that you will tell your ODD to play with Shannon more or be BFF's?  It seems like ShannonsMom is a bit of a helicopter parent, always in her daughter's business.

Please don't say "Thank you for telling me" because it isn't true.  You really don't want her to tell you and you shouldn't be thanking her for it  ;).  I would say something like, "We really don't get into ODD's friendships and school business as we are raising her to think and act independently."  If she persists I would tell her that you really don't want to hear it.  I am sure that other posters will have a better way of putting it than I do.  I tend to be a bit...blunt (I would say "Why are you telling me this?") when people annoy me on a regular basis.

QueenofAllThings

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 07:51:45 PM »
The worst thing this parent can do is try to 'fix' everything for her daughter - and she's doing it. I would guess that Shannon is a first born or only child.

"I let ODD work things out herself" is a perfect response - followed by liberally applied bean dip.

yokozbornak

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 08:00:56 PM »
Shannon is not an only child, but the family lost another child.  I have always assumed that's why the mom is like she is and why I have been nice about it.  I do feel for her, but I don't want to hear constant complaints about my child.

LeveeWoman

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 08:11:06 PM »
It sounds like ShannonsMom is trying to make her daughter be the focus of ODD's attention.  Perhaps she thinks that you will tell your ODD to play with Shannon more or be BFF's?  It seems like ShannonsMom is a bit of a helicopter parent, always in her daughter's business.

Please don't say "Thank you for telling me" because it isn't true.  You really don't want her to tell you and you shouldn't be thanking her for it  ;).  I would say something like, "We really don't get into ODD's friendships and school business as we are raising her to think and act independently."  If she persists I would tell her that you really don't want to hear it.  I am sure that other posters will have a better way of putting it than I do.  I tend to be a bit...blunt (I would say "Why are you telling me this?") when people annoy me on a regular basis.

I'd ask this very thing.

Allyson

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 08:23:30 PM »
Maybe a friendly, slightly perplexed, "Is that a problem?"

I understand people are very concerned about possible bullying/cliques/exclusion. But sometimes that can get too far, and this might be an example of that. Perhaps trying to gently express that your daughter isn't mistreating Shannon in anyway, nor going out of her way to be rude to her. Also maybe make a point about how you find sometimes when parents push a friendship on kids, it has the opposite effect.

gramma dishes

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 08:35:52 PM »
...   Also maybe make a point about how you find sometimes when parents push a friendship on kids, it has the opposite effect.

I wouldn't actually say this, but it is certainly true.  Having Mommy there to complain to other Mommies about every interaction (or lack of interaction) their children have with you doesn't exactly elicit warm feelings about you from other children. 


Cleargleam

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2012, 08:45:02 PM »
I suppose I could be said to have "tattled" on a child - I went to the store to shop today, and while I was there, I saw a girl playing with a display piece which she had apparently played with to the point she had taken it apart. (The piece was a shelf-front display and had a small button on either end; the buttons clicked into holes on the shelf build-up. While I was watching, it was evident that one of the buttons had come free of its hole, so the display piece did not sit properly.) It is possible that some other child had taken the piece apart. When the male adult who was shopping with the child started to walk away, having not observed the child's behavior the entire time I was present, I advised him that the girl he was with had been playing with the display and had apparently taken it apart. He had the grace to put the display together, at least.

I wasn't about to let him just walk off completely oblivious to his child's behavior, and the effect of what may have been his child's play. While I did not see *her* take the piece apart, I had no intention of fixing the results of another person's play - and especially not that of a child whose parent had permitted her to treat the display as an interactive toy.

GrammarNerd

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 08:45:44 PM »
Look at her expectantly like you're waiting for a punchline.  After a pregnant pause, say, "And?", like you're expecting something more; more of a reason that she would have brought it to your attention.  Then after she (probably) repeats what she just said, you can proceed in a few different ways:

A - "Okaaaaaay.  And ... I'm sorry, I don't understand.  I'm not sure why you're telling me this."  Continue the puzzled look.
B - "Hmmmm....I haven't gotten any reports from DD's teachers about any problems on the playground.  Since I didn't get any reports from the school ..."  Trail off, and shrug, implying that if there was something that you should know about regarding playground behavior, it should come from the playground monitors/teachers, not her.  Bonus points if you can change the subject or walk away, thereby shutting her down and letting her know you're not giving any credence to what she was saying (tattling).
C - "Whew!  That's all?  Good.  I was afraid you were going to tell me that DD was misbehaving! 
D - (If the other things don't work) "I didn't realize that Shannon expects DD to play with her every single day.  Really?  And Shannon's reporting back to you when my DD simply chooses to play with other friends for 15 minutes during recess?  Umm...That seems like a lot of pressure to put on a child her age, and really, we want our DD to cultivate multiple friendships, not just be limited to one friend."

Piratelvr1121

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2012, 08:57:34 PM »
I had a neighbor who used to tattle on my boys. Usually stuff like "Oh I see them fighting all the time!" Yeah, they fight. They're brothers. They're 18 months apart and up till recently they shared a room. They're going to fight.  When I'd mention this to the boys, they'd shrug and say "Yeah, we were play wrestling...so?"

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

lilihob

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 11:59:47 PM »
 I agree with a PP, tilt you head to one side, and look at her as if you're waiting for the point.
" Your DD didn't play with Shannon yesterday!"
You, head tilted, expectant look.
........... .......... ................... she'll probably repeat it.
"Oh, O.K"  Smile vaguely, as if she said "I hate grapes"
Or if you're feeling naughty >:D
Be her, when you see her, run up, tattle on Shannon preemptively, say "I knew you'd want to know!"
and hustle away.
She'll start avoiding you, and it'll only need to be done the once, because next time she brings up your DD.
"oh well, even the best children can be so trying, remember when I told you about Shannon?"
You're not being rude or retaliatory, she must just enjoy this kind of "chat".

dietcokeofevil

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2012, 12:53:55 AM »
I had a similar problem with another mother back a couple of years ago.   It didn't even have to involve her own kid.  Both of our daughters went to the school's aftercare program.  Other Mom emailed me asking if everything was okay, because she had seen that my DD and another girl (not her daughter) were upset with each other when she went to pick up her daughter from the afterschool program.  She had asked the program director what was going on and he gave a polite non-answer, since it wasn't her kids.  So then she asked her daughter about it, and gave me this whole kind of rant about how it made her daughter uncomfortable when her friends fought and the girls all needed to get along because they were in girl scouts together and we should sit them down and tell them how this was a big deal.    I responded that I didn't know what had happened, but that when I picked up my DD that day (about 15 minutes after other mom had been there) she and the 3rd girl where playing a game together and the program director hadn't said anything.  I also pointed out that we had never had a problem with the girls at Girl Scouts, so I didn't think an intervention was necessary.    That night I asked DD about it, and it turned out the girls had got into a tiff over something, but they apologized to each other.  I asked about the Other Mom's daughter's involvement and DD said she wasn't even there, she was playing with another group of kids on the playground.

After that it just kept coming....I'd get reports from other mom about DD doing something like not playing with her daughter.  When I'd ask DD, it would turn out the whole story was that they invited girl to play some game with them and she didn't want to and instead tried to get them to all do what she wanted, then got mad when they didn't.

My first response was to tell DD to distance her self from this girl.  Not to make it obvious, but just find someone else to play with.  That helped for a few weeks, but then the Other Mom emailed me and basically accused DD of bullying and had some story about DD and the other girls forming a club and they had a list of members that all the girls in the after school program were on the list except her daughter.   I asked my DD about it and asked to see the list.  Their "club" was 3 or 4 girls talking about American girl dolls and their "member list" was a list of AG dolls that they all wanted.  This girl wasn't into the dolls, so she opted to play basketball instead.

That was the final straw for me.  I told the mom that I thought it best that the girls not play together and just avoid each other.  Other Mom agreed to that. 

What I wish I would have done is said something to the after school director and to the school counselor, because that girl did complain to the counselor and DD had to go talk to her about it.  The counselor was cool about it, DD didn't feel punished or anything, but I was not happy.  Fortunately it was the last week of school, so I just let it go.

In talking with the other mom, she admitted that she was picked on a lot when she was in school.  I think her daughter learned pretty quickly that if she said people were picking on her, her Mom would be very quick to defend her.  Other Mom did finally catch on that her daughter wasn't being completely truthful, so things have improved.

O'Dell

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 11:30:17 AM »
What I wish I would have done is said something to the after school director and to the school counselor, because that girl did complain to the counselor and DD had to go talk to her about it.  The counselor was cool about it, DD didn't feel punished or anything, but I was not happy.  Fortunately it was the last week of school, so I just let it go.

I think you have to be careful with your response, because ideally you don't want to shut her down completely, do you? You want to leave her an opening to talk to you if there really is something you should know.

If you go with something like "Why are you telling me this?" or "I prefer to let the kids work it out", then I think you have to be more explicit on your reasoning as to why you won't get involved. Explain why you think it's trivial. Something like "I like for my daughter to change up who she plays with. I'll let the kids try and work this out for themselves. I don't see a reason to get involved." You are letting her know what you do and don't take seriously, as well as modeling good parenting behavior.

I also agree with dietcokeofevil that you should consider talking to someone at the school. Ask them for some advice on dealing with her or should you refer her to you. There might be something that they can do from there end. I think they deserve a heads up that she's possibly just stirring the pot with the kids and other parents.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

bopper

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Re: When Other Parents "Tattle" on Your Children
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 11:46:37 AM »
You have to act like your DD did nothing wrong, because she didn't. Then just turn the conversation back to her.

"ODD didn't play with Shannon on the playground today"  Oh, she must have been playing with some other friends. What did Shannon end up doing?

"ODD said that Shannon had fluffy hair"  Was it fluffy?  Have you tried <conditioner>?


"ODD didn't pick Shannon first for her team."  Is Snannon particulary good at <sport>? No? Maybe she just went by who she thought best. Doesn't Shannon dance? How is that going?

 
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