What’s the Difference Between Telling and Tattling

Photo by Olichel Adamovich via pixabay

As a parent, I’ve read many books on effective parenting. One of my favourite authors and speakers is Barbara Coloroso.

Her books helped me to deal with many problems when raising my two children. One of the things I remember most was how she taught me the difference between telling and tattling, and the importance of passing this on to my children.

Telling was to get someone out of trouble, and tattling was to get someone into trouble.

As a parent, I was only interested in hearing my children talk about someone else if they were trying to get them out of trouble.

As an adult, I too, am faced with dealing with difficult people. But whom do I talk to when I want to tattle on someone? For many of us, it’s our best friend, our spouse or our neighbour. Sometimes it can be all three. However, this is gossip and never truly helps a situation but only makes it worse.

In Beth Moore’s video series, “A Heart Like His”, she advises us to tattle to God. We can recount our disappointment to God.

The example that Beth provides is from Psalm 62:4 where King David is recounting his disappointment of other men to God. He says, “They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouth they bless, but in their hearts they curse.”

In this way, we can still say what is truly bothering us, but without the backstabbing or gossip that can accompany tattling to a friend.

We can rest in the knowledge that God will handle the problem person in His infinite wisdom and He will comfort us in return. We can share this knowledge with our kids and help them to tattle without getting into trouble.

How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind (Job 8 NIV.)