Self Designated Informants

Unless you are an orphan who was raised by wolves or a nomad, your family most likely has at least one Self Designated Informant (SDI), also known as the Tattle Tale or the Town Crier. You probably already know which of your siblings or offspring this is. Not sure? The SDI can fall anywhere in the sibling or offspring hierarchy, but is (most times) not the oldest. The oldest usually has the responsibilities as well as the freedom to do a lot of things the younger kids are not allowed to do and does not concern themselves with what the others are up to.

The SDI’s job is to make certain the Parents know that the ‘others’ are doing something they shouldn’t be, something they are going to do – but shouldn’t, or something they have already done but shouldn’t have. The most important thing to remember is that the SDI is not being and intentional butt head. Remember when I said, that the SDI is usually not the first born? The SDI does what they do primarily as a means of getting attention. When they are very young, it’s obvious when they bust on another, and goes something like: “Mommie So-and-So did this.” When they are older, the prelude to the dish might be a phone call or a text that starts: “Have you talked to So-and-So lately?” or “You didn’t hear this from me, but…”

Having a reliable SDI is a good thing and often one of the best tools in a Parent’s bag of tricks. But, it’s important not to necessarily act on the information, at least every time. Remember the dishing is primarily a means of getting attention or maybe (as in older kids) just needing someone to talk to. I have a niece (let’s call her Niece #2) who busts on her cousin to me fairly regularly. Niece #2 is also not the oldest in her family, but I believe the main reason she keeps me in the loop is long ago when she was around 13, I caught her smoking and believed her when she made me think it was one of the other kids. Which was the reason I stayed so mad, not about the deed itself, but about blaming the wrong kid, and as a result, everybody got punished. Which is funny in hindsight when I think about it, if they were all so willing to take the fall, they were all probably doing something else that I didn’t catch them at. I think Niece #2 has been trying to make it up to me ever since.
  • There are also Self Designated Informants in the work place as well. We usually call these  guys Brown Nosers, in school they were Teacher’s Pets. These people are also looking for attention, but are much more dangerous. If you’ve worked anywhere for any length of time you know to be wary of these folk and whatever you do, Don’t piss them off! 
What brings this to my mind today is Daughter #5 sent me the classic text message above about a sister. While the information was valuable, it was not vital, more importantly because I know her so well; I knew something else was going on. Daughter #5 had broken up with her boyfriend and it had gotten really scary. Translation: She needed someone to talk to. I love all my kids and I hope that I can continue to read the signs correctly when they need me. It’s easy when your kids are young to get in the habit of saying “Stop being a Tattle Tale”, but try to remember all they probably need is some one-on-one, a willing listener and a hug.

Note: I’ve got something a little different and special planned for you this weekend. Check back for a Valentine surprise!


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