Why do children tattle?

When young children see a peer cause harm, they often tattle to a caregiver. But why do children tattle? A new Social Development study reveals that even when children cannot be blamed for a transgression, they tattle about it nonetheless, likely because tattling may be a way for children to enforce norms on others and thus help maintain cooperation.

The research sheds new light on why young children tattle and raises the question of whether tattling should necessarily be discouraged in early childhood.

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