Tattling

When you have three kids – especially aged 5-7! – the tattling can get to be a little out of hand.  The most frustrating part for me is what they choose to tattle over.

“Ryan’s copying me!”

“Colin said ‘nanananana!’ in my face!”

“Robbie’s biting his fingers!” (And by this, I mean he’s biting on HIS OWN fingers, not someone else’s!)

But when Colin decides to rewire the bedroom TV, does anyone speak up?  When Robbie pees on the floor, do I hear about it??  No.

I’ve developed a new response every time someone starts to tattle and it sounds like nonsense. “Is someone hurt?  Is something broken??”

If the answer is “no” to both questions, I probably don’t want to know!  Especially if I’m in the middle of my 5 minute long morning shower. Those are MY FIVE MINUTES. Unless you are on fire or bleeding, please go away! (I’ve actually said that to my kids a time or two before!)

We’ve been trying to instill a sense of responsibility in Ryan and Robbie (our “neurotypical” kiddos, for those just joining this blog).  Yes, Colin should be – and is – held responsible when he breaks things or potentially does damage to electronics, someone’s bedroom, etc… but ultimately, you should have some level of responsibility for your own room.  I will set ground rules to help – Colin is rarely allowed in Robbie and Ryan’s room if they are not present – but you can’t claim blind ignorance if you sit back and let something happen. 

A month or so ago, there was a day when the boys were all home from school and Rick (who works nights) was trying to catch a nap on the couch.  While Rick was napping and Ryan and Robbie were watching TV in the living room, Colin walked through the living room to the master bedroom, collected a handful of various cords and cables… walked back through the living room (in front of R&R – this is not a big room or a big house!) and then into Robbie and Ryan’s bedroom where he proceeded to plug things in wherever he could – mostly in the back of the TV and into the wall.  His brothers didn’t say a word.  They swear up and down they never saw anything.

I discovered this when I went to get the boys ready for bed that night. I noticed the dresser that the TV sits on was pushed out a bit. I looked behind it and noticed all these cords and wires that weren’t there before (the only thing that’s ever plugged into the TV is a Leap Frog gaming system – and that plugs into the front). At the time, Rick and I had a box full of spare wires, cables, etc, in our room, and I knew that’s where they came from.  I called all three boys into the bedroom for an inquiry.  Colin confessed (he’s the one obsessed with electricity, so I assumed it was him anyhow).  The other two claimed complete ignorance of any misbehavior.

Colin’s probably twice as likely to tell on himself than he is to tattle on someone else.  If you ask him if he’s done something, he almost always answers truthfully. (Sometimes he’ll even confess to things he didn’t do, which is very frustrating.  I’m getting better at filtering out the false confessions.)

At the end of the day, if he’s done something ridiculous that no one has discovered, he’ll likely point it out.  Thank goodness.  Often, it’s a pile of parts to something he’s disassembled.  One time it was all his bedding stuffed inside a pair of underwear. 

Does your autistic and/or ADHD child hide his/her bad behavior? Or is s/he open and honest about it?  How do you deal with excessive tattling from your “NT” children?

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