Top critical review
😵 NEGATIVE 5 stars! 👎 TEACHES OUTDATED CONCEPTS THAT ENCOURAGE BULLYING & ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOR
Reviewed in the United States on November 12, 2018
Parents beware! This outdated book (from 2005!) is being used indiscriminately in elementary classrooms across the nation without evidence-base.
From a parental and child development perspective, this book is appalling. Those who give it high marks have likely not reviewed recent evidence on bystander reporting and bullying in childhood.
Teachers be aware teaching this concept may cause permanent harm by decreasing the likelihood that children/adolescents report inappropriate and bulling behavior. There is a deep evidence base behind the Olweus school intervention program which would directly contradict rule 4 (mind your own business) and rule 2 (only tell if it’s dangerous)... A child may not conceptualize inappropriate touching, coercion, or verbal abuse as “dangerous.”
Recent research contradicts this book. Tried to include links but amazon apparently doesn’t allow.
See Frontiers in Psychology, 2018. The Whistleblower's Dilemma in Young Children: When Loyalty Trumps Other Moral Concerns.
Educational article from June 2018 Greatschools Does saying “don’t tattle” send kids the wrong message? Look at recent recommendations of Victoria Talwar, an associate professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at McGill University in Montreal
And Laura Paret, a clinical psychologist specializing in children and adolescents in New York City.
This book uses garish illustrations and an intimidating story of catching a disease to scare children into not reporting. How it became popular? Probably the short-term quick-fix of shutting children up without attending to long-term bad effects in child development.
Parents negatively reviewing this book are on the right track. See examples of reluctance to report inappropriate behavior, bullying, and inappropriate touching due to introduction of the concept of tattling.
In our childrens’ classroom, this book causes continued disruption and grief for several children. One very meek child is now not reporting bullying behavior because she doesn’t want to be a “tattle tongue.” Instead she cries in the corner of the playground. And another child (also a high achieving rule follower) has been to visit the school counselor because he is worried about being labeled a “tattler.” Unfortunately the teacher of this class finds the short-term gains (intimidating kids into not reporting and not having to take time to deal with children’s social concerns) appealing and will not be influenced by evidence of ill effects. “Tattle” behavior in the class results in negative points.
Teachers be aware: you can teach the concept of unhelpful telling and support independence and problem solving without this appalling book.
At home we marked this book up with sharpie and then used it to start a campfire to emphasize to our children how off-base and dangerous these rules are.