How To Stop Your Child From Gossiping

Gossiping is a favourite pastime for many adults but who knew children from as young as 8 can be just as guilty? Apart from hurting the feelings and reputation of others, gossiping can cause huge embarrassment to you and your child. See ways in which you can avoid hurt feelings and teach your child to respect others.

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1. Explain to Them How Gossip Hurts Others

The only time most people hate gossip is when they are being gossiped about. Help your child to see the harm that gossip does by repeating the gossip they have spread and making them the subject. Also let your child know that the subject of the rumor will likely hear it and probably become hurt.

Your child may ask what if he is saying the truth about the person? Still remind them of the following:

  • Negative news spread faster than good news.
  • Gossips usually are intended to hurt or harm the reputation of the subject.
  • Tell them that gossiping is a form of bullying, even if they don’t understand the damage that the gossip is causing.
  • Because the subjects aren’t there to defend themselves, the rumours are most likely lies.
  • Let your child know how gossiping can affect his reputation and lea to embarrassing scenarios that can bring shame, tears, and guilt.
  • Teach them that gossiping could damage the friendship of two or more people.
  • Lastly, let them realise they could be victims too.

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2. Teach your Child To Shut Gossip Down

When you have explained the dangers of gossiping to your child, it is time to teach him how to stand firm and stay true to his values. This will help them stay out of the vice without feeling compelled to join in.

The easiest way to shut down gossip is to not spread it. Tell your child to simply keep it to themselves, even if they believe the rumor is true.

Use these tools to teach them how to be assertive:

  • Teach them words to say when they are gossiped to, like “That’s none of my business” or “I’m sure there’s a good reason for that”.  It’s only a matter of time before other kids stopped bringing gossips to them.
  • Teach them to avoid the subject. Your child may sometimes feel that they have no choice but to join other kids gossiping, teach your child that he actually has a choice. He could walk away or simply say “I don’t want to talk about this, can we discuss something else?”
  • Encourage your child to choose his friends carefully and befriend other kids who do not gossip.
  • Let your child also know that “friends’ who spread gossips about others will spread gossips about him too.
  • Be consistent and let them realise there will be consequences if you ever find them gossiping.

READ ALSO: 8 Bad Habits Of Yours Affecting Your Kids Negatively

3. Teach your Child To Prevent Gossip

Help your child to cultivate the habit of keeping information he is entrusted with to himself. Kids generally have loose-lips and it will take your patient guidance to help your child develop the habit of keeping his private and family matters to himself.

Help them to realise that freely sharing their private information can put them at the mercy of gossip or slander. If they feel the need to share anything about others, suggest trusted sources to them, like yourself, some relatives, their school principal, their guidance counselor or teacher.

You can ask them to make a list of people they feel they can trust, so they know who to turn to if they have a need to. Caution them that talking to two or three people on the list over a particular subject is sufficient.

4. Encourage Them to Speak Out

A person who makes a habit of gossiping or criticising others is a type of bully. Teach your child how to excuse themselves and discourage the bully.

They could say for instance,

“I know you’re about to start gossip. It’s going to hurt the person and it’s wrong, so I don’t think you should.”

5. Be A Positive Influence

Teaching your child all the tricks to avoid being a gossip will not yield much result when you are doing the opposite. Your child is likely watching you and actions do speak louder than words. Do not gossip or slander other people, you never know what cues your child is taking.

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