Ever since Allie was born, the TATTLING in our household has spiraled out of control.
Due to the added responsibilities of taking care of an infant, I've not been able to be as attentive to the boys as I was a year ago and have sent them off on their own to play more often.
This is a good thing, in my opinion, because it requires them to imagine up their own creative play AND creates opportunities for them to bond as brothers---without me around to dictate their every move.
Although I have seen growth in creative play and in their bond as brothers, these little pockets of time away from me throughout the day have also brought to light this problem of tattling.
So very often one of them stomps over to me tattling about something his brother did or did not do. Tattling on each other has become so frequent that we usually cannot go an hour without one of them pointing out the other's wrong.
In a sense, I feel responsible for how far this problem has spiraled out of control because when it first began while Allie was an infant it was actually helpful for me. If somebody wasn't following the rules or was doing something dangerous while I was trying to feed, bath, or change Allie's diaper I wanted to hear about it. As a result, I didn't exactly discourage them from tattling on each other.
However, it has now become clear to me that very often the two motivations behind their tattling are spiritually harmful in nature.
First, they are SELF-RIGHTEOUS. "Look how good I am mom and look how bad he is."
Second, they are TROUBLE-SEEKING. They are very much trying to get their brother into trouble.
These are both serious problems.
I've spent quite a bit of time seeking God and the advice of other moms as to how to handle the out of control tattling.
While I by no means have the complete answer, I have found two Scriptures that speak directly to their two motivations behind tattling.
A SELF-RIGHTEOUS motivation to tattle should lead to discipline for the tattler because PRIDE is sin.
Proverbs 17:5b speaks to this:
"Whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished." God's children are NOT to delight in another's failures.
A TROUBLE-SEEKING motivation to tattle should also lead to discipline for the tattler because Scripture encourages the brother to pursue reconciliation with the offender FIRST before taking the problem to someone else (Matthew 18 principle). Furthermore, Scripture encourages the brother to consider how he may "spur" the other on "toward love and good deeds." (Hebrews 10:24)
is that unless one of the boys is endangering himself, someone else, or destroying property their brother SHOULD NOT come to me first before trying to reconcile and spur one another on toward love and good behavior.
There are many facets to this problem and so I desperately need God's wisdom and some teachable moments to begin instructing my children toward these Scriptural truths and guidelines in regards to tattling.
Friends, let's pray.
I pray that you would grant me wisdom and discernment as I begin to instruct my children about the destructive nature of their tattling. I pray that they would not tattle out of SELF-RIGHTEOUS or TROUBLE-SEEKING hearts. I pray they would not gloat over the other's disaster. I pray they would not delight in getting the other in trouble but rather that they would spur one another on toward love and good deeds. And I pray that they would develop the tools and virtues necessary to reconcile with each other before involving others in their disputes.