I believe that there is a big difference between sharing information and gossiping. I have been thinking about this recently when I have been chatting with friends and they have told me something about someone else’s life. I have wondered if they should have told me that? Is it harmful to the person they are talking about? Is it factual? Could it hurt someone else if I shared this information?
Sometimes the answer has been yes and I wish they had not told me. Sometimes the information they have shared is harmless and I just keep it to myself anyway. I don’t like gossip and I prefer to stay away from people who think it is entertaining. Imagine if I told them something in private – the rest of my friendship group and beyond would all know!
Many children worry about gossip. Are they going to be on the receiving end of it? Should they join in if others are talking about other people so they aren’t the odd one out? Some girls think it is fun and others will complain about other children gossiping and how they don’t like it. They don’t like hearing about another of their friends in a detrimental way.
Helping Children to Understand Gossiping
Can your child tell the difference between gossip and sharing information? e.g., ‘Did you know that Claire is moving classes?’ I see this as sharing information as it is based on fact. There is no benefit to anyone knowing this. It would be gossip if it was supposed to be a secret or the reason for her moving class was private information.
If your child does not know the difference between gossip and sharing information, talk to them about the difference. Sharing information is harmless, gossip is harmful.
Has your child been on the receiving end of gossip or perhaps they have got in trouble for gossiping? I’d love to hear how you helped them to deal with it – leave a comment below this blog or via my social media channels.