Telling Vs. Tattling

Difference Between Telling and Tattling

There has been a great confusion between the meanings of words ‘telling’ and ‘tattling’. Not only children are confused about the things they talk about, but also the adults.

Telling is a positive action that must be encouraged. It can be defined as actions to protect themselves or others. This is done to protect someone the psychologically or physically, while tattling is idle talks

Several reasons are known why people Tell and Tattle. It was seen that a child tells, because they feel they are injured physically or mentally and needs help from the elders as they can not handle it themselves. Second, they tell as they are trying to solve the problem, but could not do it themselves. Thirdly, a person can be hurt if no one intervened. However, children Tattle when they want attention, when they are angry at someone and want other people to get in trouble, they want the focus on the people leave them, and finally, when they want to see if laws had changed.

Telling everything to parents, if encouraged, transforms them to grown ups that are not able to cope up with their adverse circumstances. At times it is so resented that parents may punish the child for saying things that are unimportant. The children then stop telling things that need to be told where intervention is necessary. Children and adults alike are discouraged from telling their problems to others, and being called names like “Tattletale” or “snitch”.

So adults should learn the difference between telling and tattling and teach their children to distinguish between them.


1. Telling is taken as a positive action with an intent to prevent psychological harm

2. Tattling can be taken as an act done to get undue attention, to get the focus away from themselves, sometimes it is a passive action to bring the problem to someone because you’re mad at them.

3. Telling always is encouraged to teach a man to inform people that injustice can not be handled by someone on their own. Tattling must not be supported because it allows a person to not think about their own problems and always be dependent on others.

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