When a young child comes to you to you to tell you about a problem they are having or about what someone else did, do you send them away telling them to stop tattling? Next time this happens, stop for a moment and ask yourself: Why does this child feels the need to come talk to me?
Young children often don't know how to explain what they really want or need and it can appear to come through to you the adult as tattling. Some people never outgrow this phase. This is an important age when taking a few minutes to help the child develop their communication skills and create open communications between the two of you will serve you well later in their teenage years when you wish and pray that they would just talk with you. Here are a few things you can do:
- Just listen and thank them for sharing.
- Listen and ask them if they need your help.
- Listen and then teach them to have heartfelt understanding of how the other person feels and why they might have done what they did.
- Listen and then ask them what they did or could do about it.
- If you don't have time at that very moment, ask them if you could talk about it later. Always follow up as you don't want to be perceived as brushing them off.
The communication skills you teach your child at a young age will not only help your relationship with them in the long run, it will affect the quality of the relationships they will have with others for the rest of their life.