Sunday Post: Concept…Are We Teaching Our Children to Gossip?

are we teaching our children to gossip,positive parental participation,show me how build your child's self-esteem

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is CONCEPT, which the dictionary defines as “a guiding general principle that determines how a person behaves.


What concepts…or guiding principles…are we teaching our children?

Is gossip one of them?

I watched an old Andy Griffith Show last night called, “Opie’s Newspaper”.

Young Opie has trouble getting customers for the little newspaper he and his friend have published and his dad advises him to use the daily city paper as a model and write stories that will be of interest to the general public.

Looking through the city paper, Opie realizes that the stories that are of interest to the adults in his town are the ones filled with scandalous gossip…so, in his little newspaper, Opie reports all the tidbits from conversations he has overheard.  Fortunately, his dad reads what he has written before many of the town’s residents get a copy and they destroy the newspapers before anyone’s feeling are hurt.

His dad asks him why he wrote such stuff.   Opie replies, “When I put in the nice stories, nobody wanted to buy it.”

That episode was filmed over fifty years ago…but times certainly haven’t changed.  If anything, they have gotten worse.  Many people LOVE to hear juicy tidbits about famous people.  It seems that hearing horrible things about ANYONE seems to be a national pastime around the world.  That’s why all of those court shows and expose shows like Jerry Springer and Morey Povich are so popular!

As parents, we have to remember what the pencil maker said to the pencil before he put it in the box, “Everything you do will always leave a mark.”   Our children are like a piece of blank paper…and the concepts or principles we teach will have a lasting impact on them and will determine how they behave.

As Opie’s Aunt Bea said, “If we want the boys to behave better, we’d better set them a better example.”

What example are you setting when it comes to gossip?


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time after time, positive parental participation

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

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32 thoughts on “Sunday Post: Concept…Are We Teaching Our Children to Gossip?

  1. Such a good point, Vivian. Honestly the whole celeb gossip thing is something I can’t relate to – I have literally no interest in it. But it’s also important to be careful what you say about people you know – even if it’s meant well. Children have been known to repeat things 🙂 and that could end up causing harm to someone accidentally.


    • You are so right, Susanna!  And the problem is that when our kids overhear us ‘chatting’ about a relative, friend or neighbor they embrace that as the way to behave…so it’s not only a problemof them repeating something they have overheard, but a problem of learned behavior for their adult life.  


  2. So very true – we love gossip. Just look at the success of reality TV. Essentially, peeking into someone elses life and then talking about it. I agree it’s so important how you speak about other people to and around your children. I always maintained and still do ‘everything counts’ (as in your pencil box) and hopefully said it and showed it often enough to sink in for a lifetime 🙂


    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Leslie! Gossip appears to be just another form of bullying…as Deputy Fife would say, “Let’s nip it in the bud!!!!” Another teacher I know asks her kids when they come to ‘tell’ on someone, “Are you telling me this to get someone into trouble or to keep someone from getting into trouble?”


  3. “If I can’t say something nice about a person, I won’t say anything” I think that is how the saying goes.

    Well put in the post, Vivian. We do want to be good examples.

    Love how you put the good things people said about your book in the post. Congrats! 🙂


  4. No they don’t Vivian. This was a great thoughtful post for the theme…it made me think of something I read the other day on facebook [it has its moments].

    “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – E Roosevelt


  5. Ah, gossip… You know, after I’ve heard my kids talk about their classmates, I’m starting to think that gossip is actually part of human nature. I don’t mind letting my kids vent but I try to have them rephrase some of their comments, so they don’t label anyone. So when they say someone is bossy, I rephrase it with someone tends to boss others around, or someone can be a little bossy sometimes. I don’t label my kids and I want them to understand they shouldn’t label other kids either. I don’t encourage the gossip but I like to hear how their day went and if something needs to be address. As for gossip on my end, I don’t do it in front of my kids and try to refrain myself with others. I used to hear A LOT of gossip when I worked in an office and that’s something I don’t miss at all working from home!


    • GREAT comment, Milka!  And I think it is wonderful that your kids feel comfortable talking to you and around you…their conversations can help you get a better understanding of how they are faring in school. 🙂    


      • You know, it’s really tough out there. At age 4, my son is already going through rejection when his best friend is playing with another the kid, and that kid tells my son he’s not welcome to play with them. The same thing happens to my 6-year old who has been told a few times by a friend he was not his “best” friend anymore. Kids can be so possessive and cruel, it’s quite shocking! I also find this exclusive type of friendships very American. Growing up in France, we always played as a group of friends, not pairs, early on and we entered adulthood that way too. There sure is a lot less rejection that way!


  6. Great post, Vivian! Along these lines, I teacher I worked with many years ago had this message posted in big letters across her class room walls: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”


    • I’ve seen that also, Laura! Gossip in the classrooms can run rampant…they used to say, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me.” But names and words so hurt. 😦 Let’s just all be kind. 🙂


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  10. The analogy of the pencil is so apt!
    And what you say is so true. Now that Caleb is 22 months, he is absorbing and repeating what I say. So as parent, it’s important to watch what I say.
    Congrats too on the great testimonials you are receiving for your book and how it is impacting so many!


    • Thank you so much, Emily!
      I did a five-part series on The Pencil-Maker’s Tale on my blog last year…perhaps I should re-do it…I love the connection it has to parenting and the impact we make on our children. 🙂


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