Bullying: A Big Complicated Problem with Many Simple Solutions

If each one of us untangled one string at a time...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Tell A Trusted Adult" Is Only Good Advice When Adults Can Be Trusted: Bullying

Something is missing. On almost every list for kids and teens of "What To Do When You're Being Bullied," there's a bullet point that advises:
• Go Tell A Trusted Adult
But who is that trusted adult and do they know what to say or do? Even the most well-intentioned adult might mess things up even more. It's the elephant in the room but like most tangled ball problems, there's a way to untangle one string at a time.

I've been studying bullying and online safety issues for a long time but sometimes when kids confide in me about the hurts they feel from being disrespected and mistreated, I'm at a loss for words. I always start out by telling them that I'm not a counselor. It doesn't seem to matter to them. I guess they know I'm interested and for that moment, that's what they need.

The statistics that scare me the most are the percentages of kids who suffer in silence.

There's a reason for this. Adults tend to overreact or under react. Both are natural responses because either you want to solve the whole problem for the child and take control or we don't understand the subtleties of their relationships and their worlds.

What we need is some type of training or guidance and then "Go Tell A Trusted Adult" will actually be good advice.

Kathryn Otoshi, author of the award-winning children's book, One, and I came up with a game plan. As part of our Be the One© campaign, we would like young kids to identify and honor their Be the One Go-to Adult. In other words, who is the person in their life who is easy to talk to and supportive?

Along with their very own Be the One Go-To Adult certificate, the "honoree" will get a letter that gives basic advice about "How To Be the Best Go-To Adult" possible. Additional information from experts on what to do to help a bullied child will be on Tangled Ball.com beginning Sept. 5th.

Once again, this takes a village. Do you have suggestions for the Go-To Adult? Tell us your stories, give us your recommendations.

If you're a parent, teacher, administrator, public servant, expert, coach, counselor or just your every day special Be the One Go-To Adult and you're interested in the materials, let us know.


  1. I'm a school counselor and I'm interested! Now what?

  2. Sara,

    Thanks so much for your interest.

    I'm going to be uploading the Be the One Go-To Adult certificate and letter within the next two weeks, along with links to great books and experts on the subject at www.tangledball.com. Sounds like you're already doing great work. They are lucky kids in your care.

    Kathryn Otoshi and I would be very interested in hearing what you're doing with the book.

    All best,
    Susan Raisch (Tangled Ball)

  3. My work with "One" culminates tomorrow! Will blog about it this weekend! I'm excited to now incorporate the "One Go-To Adult Campaign" too! Thank you!