17 Ways to Derail Your Child’s Gossip Train

how to stop gossiping

“I heard that Lacie was texting him like every day.” “Oh yeah, I could see her doing that.” “Me too. She would totally go behind her friend’s back.” I could feel the gossip train leaving the station that morning as our carpool group made the daily trek to school. And then it really picked up speed.

“I have a screenshot of what she said to him. He sent it to me!” Squeals of excitement followed as my mom-instincts started to cringe. “Send me that!” I heard someone say. Later that evening, I decided to discuss it with my daughter. Just as I suspected, she thought it was harmless teen talk. So if she didn’t realize it was gossip, does she even know how to stop gossiping? Here are 17 tools you can give your daughter to derail the gossip train.

1. Three magical words: “I don’t know.”

Don’t bite when asked about gossip. Even if you know, be smart and play dumb.

2. Excuse yourself.

Get out of harm’s way by having something else to do at that moment.

3. “I’m not into gossip.”

It takes a strong kid to call out gossip for what it is, but it’s the right thing to do.

4. Give the benefit of the doubt, even when undeserved.

If you’re feeling gutsy, try sticking up for the person being talked about.

5. Compliment the gossiper.

Often, gossip comes from a place of insecurity. A genuine compliment might stop it in its tracks.

6. Think: “Be Switzerland.”

Stay neutral. You are everyone’s friend and no one’s enemy.

7. Listen to music.

Put your earbuds in and zone out.

8. Call your mom.

“Oh, I’m sorry you guys, but I have to call my mom.”

9. “She’s my friend, so…”

Be a good friend by simply saying, “She’s my friend, so I just can’t talk about it.”

10. Mom, be a good example.

OK, this won’t help in the moment, but it might be the most important of all 17 tips. If you’re a gossip, you’re going to raise a kid who gossips.

11. Little to no reaction.

A person who gossips wants a reaction. If you don’t say more than “Hmm,” the gossiper will move on or stop talking.

12. “There are two sides to every story.”

An easy (and undeniable) answer because we know it’s true.

13. Counter-attack.

Think of something nice to say about the person being talked about.

14. Talk about homework.

“Guys, I don’t mean to interrupt, but what was our homework in math today?”

15. Pray silently.

It looks like you’re just being quiet, but you’re asking God for strength to resist the temptation to join in.

16. Tell a joke.

Cheesy, yes. But it might just save the day.

17. “If you can’t say something nice…”

Yep—you know it. Say nothing at all.

Make the lesson on how to stop gossiping even clearer when you are sitting around a campfire one night. The Bible says, “Without wood, a fire goes out; without gossip, a quarrel dies down.”

What are your tips on how to stop gossiping?