There’s been a worrying development in this household. For some reason our two children have turned supergrass. If one of them sets a foot wrong, the other will come running to mummy or daddy and inform them about what’s just happened.
Meal times are generally the worst. Our dining area is set apart from our horrible, long, galley-style kitchen (building work will soon begin to create an open plan kitchen/diner). Every time a fork gets dropped or a cup needs refilling you have to leave the room for 30 seconds.
In that brief period one of them will call out to rat on their sibling. The words won’t deviate much. It’ll be along the lines of;
“Mum / dad blah has just done bah blah. Isn’t that very naughty?”
I’m not sure why this has suddenly happened. I’m thinking it must be an age thing. It may be that Toddler Adams has reached a point in her development that she understands the difference between right and wrong and so rats on her sister. Her older sibling, having had a minor misdemeanor pointed out to an adult, gets revenge by doing the same in return.
I’m think Father Christmas possibly plays a role too. If one child can point out the failings of the other child, she’s more likely to guarantee a delivery from the bearded man in red and his reindeer.
I’ve written previously about my feelings towards the Father Christmas and Tooth Fairy traditions. In the face of fierce resistance from my wife, I go along with it through gritted teeth. In my eyes, however, this whole sisters turning supergrass on each other thing is further proof we should be honest with our kids and not fill their heads with rubbish about this mythical present delivery service.
Of course there’s a whole moral and ethical dilemma here. I don’t particularly want my children telling tales on each other because, well, let’s face it, nobody like a grass. When they get older, they will have to learn to live by this code.
I’m still racked with guilt over the time I got a friend in trouble at secondary school. I would never normally have told tales on anyone but, from a distance of about 60cms, he’d flicked a fountain pen at me.
I don’t think either of us was quite prepared for what happened. A tell-tale trail of black ink led across the desk in front of me and all the way up my white, cotton/poly mix school shirt. The splodges of ink had started small but increased in size until they reached my neck where they were about as large as a fist. In other words they couldn’t be missed.
About two seconds after this happened, a teacher appeared on the scene and asked what was going on. Caught completely by surprise I blurted out the truth and the culprit was placed on report for a week, his behavior having to be monitored during every single lesson.
Even so, if one of my kids is doing something dangerous or foolhardy, I want to know about it. If that involves one of my kids confiding in me that their sibling has been up to no good, so bit it. This will become even more important when they are teenagers and the opportunities for getting in trouble will substantially multiply.
I guess this is a parental paradox. As an adult I’m used to keeping quiet about the morally questionable behavior of acquaintances and friends. The same standards can’t be applied to my kids.
How do you cope with the whole telling takes thing? Does it cause you pain when one of your kids grasses up another one? Maybe you have older children. Do they adhere to the rule that nobody likes a grass?