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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tattling vs Reporting

In the orphanage, Buddy learned the importance of not tattling. When a kid spends 24/7 with his peers under minimal supervision, it doesn't do him any favors to be a snitch. What he didn't learn the difference between tattling and reporting.

Tattling is bringing an incident to a parent or teacher's attention to get someone in trouble. Reporting is doing the same thing for the opposite reason. When we first got home, Buddy didn't see the distinction and was very leery to report even if it was the right thing to do.

We have worked with Buddy to help him understand different social situations and appropriate ways to react to them. Tattling vs reporting is just one aspect of this, and is something that not only adopted kids struggle with.

A few weeks ago, Buddy started chatting about Billy, a kid in his class.

Billy, quite frankly, is bad news. I'm sure it isn't the kid's fault, but as soon as we met him the red flags went up. These feeling were reinforced at the last parent-teacher conference where Mr. Black suggested we steer Buddy away from Billy and encourage a more recent friendship with another boy, Jeremiah.

Buddy described how Billy had pushed a younger kid into a puddle on the school yard. As we were discussing why he may have done this and how Buddy felt about it he mentioned that Billy had also given Jeremiah a black eye.

Wait, what, when, why, WTF!?! I struggled to keep myself composed and calm so Buddy didn't feel agitated about the situation. He elaborated that a group of kids had been goofing around on the playground and Jeremiah put snow down Billy's coat. In retaliation, Billy pushed Jeremiah down and kneed him in the face. Jeremiah got a black eye and needed to go to the hospital for x-rays. Thank goodness he didn't end up with a broken nose!

I asked what happened to Billy and Buddy explained that Jeremiah didn't want to start any trouble so the boys all agreed they would say he tripped on some ice and fell on his face. No one knew the truth besides the boys. And now me.

I instantly knew it wasn't a secret I could keep but didn't want to betray Buddy's trust, so we kept talking. It became pretty clear that Buddy didn't think it was a good secret to keep, either, but was scared to be seen as a tattle tale. When I told him that I felt like the right thing to do was call Jeremiah's Mom and tell her what really happened, he wasn't upset at all. He was relieved.

Buddy sat beside me as I called Jeremiah's Mom and explained what Buddy had seen. She was upset but very thankful to know the truth. She also promised me she would not let Jeremiah know that Buddy was the one to report the incident. After I got off the phone, Buddy and I discussed what he would say to Jeremiah the next day. We agreed that it was OK to not say anything but if Jeremiah was really a friend he would understand why Buddy told.

The next day Jeremiah told Buddy, as they walked to school, that his Mom had figured out the truth. Buddy decided to fess up and fill in the details. And Jeremiah shrugged his shoulders and said, "That's fine. Do you want to come to my house after school."

And with that, Buddy had validation that there is a difference between tattling and reporting.

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