This research was supported by a grant from the Northern Ireland Department of Employment and Learning, as part of the first author’s doctoral dissertation. We thank the teachers, classroom assistants, and children for participating in the study; Bethany Heywood and Jared Piazza for coding the observational data; Nicola Ingram and Paulo Sousa for reading and commenting on the manuscript; and three anonymous reviewers at Child Development for their many helpful suggestions.
Children’s Tattling: The Reporting of Everyday Norm Violations in Preschool Settings
Article first published online: 13 MAY 2010
© 2010, Copyright the Author(s). Journal Compilation © 2010, Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 81, Issue 3, pages 945–957, May/June 2010
How to Cite
Ingram, G. P. D. and Bering, J. M. (2010), Children’s Tattling: The Reporting of Everyday Norm Violations in Preschool Settings. Child Development, 81: 945–957. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01444.x
- Issue published online: 13 MAY 2010
- Article first published online: 13 MAY 2010
Tattling, defined as the reporting to a second party of norm violations committed by a third party, is a frequent but little-studied activity among young children. Participant observation and quantitative sampling are used to provide a detailed characterization of tattling in 2 preschools (initial mean age = 4.08 years, N = 40). In these populations, tattling represents the majority of talk about peers’ behavior to third parties. It is usually truthful, it rarely refers to transgressions committed against other individuals, it is not often ignored by adults, it is performed more frequently by dominant children, and it correlates with teacher reports of relational aggression. These exploratory results suggest several new avenues of research into children’s developing understanding of social norms.