Your tween probably has a lot to say, and can talk and talk. They will talk to you, to their friends, etc. They will use the phone, the Internet, texting, email, instant messaging, and more to communicate. Sometimes this communication becomes gossip. What can you do as a parent to help keep your tween’s chatter from turning into gossip?
First, teach them that gossip is not nice, and not tolerated in your home.
If you want to keep your tween from gossiping you have to let them know that you do not want them to. You can’t expect them to just know that you do not want them to. You have to tell them. So, tell your tween that gossip is not something you tolerate, and make a rule about it for your home.
Second, set the example of not gossiping.
If you do not want your tween to gossip, you need to be a good example. Gossiping is not something anyone should do, and the fact is that kids are going to mimic your behavior, especially your bad behaviors. So, keep your tween from gossiping by not gossiping yourself. If your tween sees you gossiping they are going to feel like it is okay for them to gossip.
Third, monitor their internet and cell phone use.
Kids are getting trickier, and are gossiping in better ways then they once did. Today applications on the internet such as Facebook fuel the gossip fire. Today kids gossip with text messaging, instant messaging, cell phones, and several other devices. If you want to keep your tween’s chatter from turning into gossip you can’t just be around when they are hanging out with their friends, you also have to monitor their other forms of communication. Have passwords to your child’s accounts, and periodically scan the communication to ensure they are not gossiping. Let them know you are not going to invade their privacy, but that you will monitor it, and to avoid gossip.
Fourth, help them change the tone of a conversation when it becomes gossipy.
As a parent you can help your tween not gossip by guiding conversations that start to head in the wrong direction. For example, if your tween daughter and her girl friends are baking cookies in your kitchen, and one of the friends brings up a girl or guy not present and starts sharing juicy tidbits of gossip, step in as the parent and change the conversation.
Fifth, remind them frequently about the dangers of gossip.
Gossip hurts everyone, not just the person being gossiped about. It is also hurtful to the person doing the gossiping. It can make them untrustworthy, and makes them the topic of gossip as well.