Hey, did you hear…Marsha and Kirk were suspended for kissing at recess? Has your child ever been confused about whether something he or she heard is true? Does your child pass along the unconfirmed information? Has your child ever become stuck on the half-truth because it is so interesting and juicy? What does your child do when he or she hears a rumor?
Taking Comments Literally
When children are literal in their comprehension, they may not know whether something is untrue. They may assume that if another kid says it, it is correct. My clients have said that they have felt confused and embarrassed in situations regarding rumors. Many shared that there were social consequences for getting involved, such as other kids laughing at them, becoming angry, or telling everyone that they shared it. In most situations, it is not a positive outcome. My clients have asked why the person would lie. The answer is in the meaning of a rumor.
What is a Rumor?
A rumor is information or a story that gets passed around (a school) without any facts to show it is true. Rumors are usually exciting or interesting statements so kids will want to share what they have heard. Kids start a rumor for many reasons. They are being silly or mean, or they want to feel important. They may be playing a joke or want to hurt the person the rumor is about.
How to Deal with Rumors
The best way to deal with a rumor is to talk to your child about rumors.
- Define it and come up with a plan.
- If the child hears a rumor it is best not to pass it.
- Also, talk about what will happen if it is passed. Your child can get into trouble for being a part of it. The other kids may get angry or laugh; and a rumor may be spread about your child because he/she shared it.
- Your child may want to know how they can find out about the truth. You can encourage your child to ask a parent or very close friend about it in private. It is not wise to ask the person who the rumor is about because it may be hurtful.
If your child feels confused when told a rumor, it is best to remember that it is probably not true, so do not repeat it.