Tattling vs. Reporting

“Don’t squeal — unless it’s a big deal!”

So, as things with Please Live are beginning to become more regular and we’re now operating as an official nonprofit, my hope is that blog posts will become more frequent as well. 

You may have noticed that we have switched our blog over to wordpress. This is great because wordpress is a fabulous website that makes updating this blog easy and tasteful. The only not-great part about moving over to wordpress is that we have lost some of the great posts written in the past.

So, over the next couple of weeks, I hope to reiterate some of the great information once posted. Today, however, I’ll post about a different topic, one that needs to be addressed. Today I want to talk about the difference between tattling and reporting.

To Tattle is defined as “revealing the plans or activities of another via gossip” or to “chatter aimlessly.” The purpose of tattling can be boiled down to self-centered interests. You tattle because you want to make someone else look bad, or you want to make yourself look good, or you’re bored and want to talk behind someone’s back. Tattling is negative, and we learn from a very early age not to be a tattle-tail.

Reporting, on the other hand, is defined as “to write or provide an account” of something. To report is much less emotionally charged as tattling. While tattling is subject to gossip and self-centered purposes, reporting sticks to the facts. 

You tattle on someone to get them in trouble.
You report behavior because you are worried about someone.
You tattle on someone to make yourself look better.
You report behavior because you care about other people’s safety.

Oftentimes people – especially youth – are hesitant to report scary behavior because they don’t want to be a tattle tail. What they fail to realize is that tattling and reporting are very different actions. Tattling is self-centered, while reporting is caring about someone else.

Are you seeing signs of depression, anxiety, or suicidal ideation in a loved one? Have you stopped yourself from talking to someone about it because you’re afraid of tattling?

Please know that reporting at-risk behavior could be the difference between life and death for a friend. The sooner you or your loved one receives help, the sooner you/they can return to actually enjoying life again. 

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Valentines Day

And so it is February, the month of pink and red and Valentines.

There are two strong feelings surrounding this month. First is obviously the month to celebrate the relationship you’re in. If you find yourself lucky enough to have a significant other, then February is a time that you can really show them how much they are appreciated, and feel appreciated in return.

The second feeling is the dread of being reminded by every store, every student, every event, and every ad that you do not have a significant other yet. That once again (or maybe for the first time in a while) you’ll be celebrating valentines day alone. Some have even deemed it “singles appreciation month” or “forever alone day”.

Obviously, being on the happy side of this equation means you’re pretty much in the clear. But for students, whose feelings get hurt easily, and who are more susceptible to peer pressure, February and Valentines Day are painful reminders of inadequacy, unworthiness, being sub-par, and loneliness. Even if one is lucky enough to have a date, the date itself may be a disaster, thus resulting in a ruined valentines day.

One thing that is hard for parents to grasp is how serious this is. In a world of mortgages and office bullies, responsibilities and stress, not having a date on valentines day seems like nothing. But what you have to remember is that to your son or daughter, this may be big. It may be huge. Just because its not big in your eyes does not mean its not significant to your teen.

So, if your teen has plans for valentines day, be happy. Or, if your teen is genuinely not heartbroken about his/her relationship status this month, be happy. But if you see your teen feeling more down than usual, or making quips about being alone, perhaps you should take him/her out somewhere on the 14th this month. Take them out to eat, or to a movie, or a show. Let them know that it’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate ANY relationship on valentines day – not just the love interest ones. Celebrate your relationship as parent and child. It’ll be refreshing for both of you!