ERIC Number: ED364317
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Truth, Lies and Justice: Tattling in the Family Context.
den Bak, Irene M.; Ross, Hildy
Noting that children's appeals to parents can provide information about children's understanding of the family justice system and the dynamics of third party intervention, this study examined the tattling behavior observed in 2- and 4-year-old siblings of 40 Canadian families from diverse occupational and educational backgrounds. Observations of family interactions took place in the participants' homes during six 90-minute sessions. Results indicated the act of tattling demonstrates that children believe a simple report on the misdeeds of the sibling will draw their parents into an alliance and influence the outcome of the conflict. Older children tattled significantly more often than did younger children. While children's frequent transgressions of certain family rules were reflected in siblings' tattling, other less frequently transgressed rules were more prominent in the children's reports to their parents. Data suggested that older children viewed property damage as especially reprehensible behavior, whereas younger children were concerned about physical aggression. Younger and older children tattled with different goals. Older children were concerned about issues of loyalty while younger children tended to be concerned about issues of power. Tattling outcomes did not account for differences in older and younger children's tattling behavior. (TJQ)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Canada; Family Rules; Rule Breaking; Tattling
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (60th, New Orleans, LA, March 25-28, 1993).