When Do You Tell a Grown-up?

An anti-bullying poem by Jason Didner

When do you tell a grown-up?

When do you tell a grown-up
Of something that’s not right?
Is it really tattling
If you can stop a fight?

A tattle-tale can’t wait to tell
Of picky little things
Like Josh’s messy desk
Or Emma’s loose binder rings

Young heroes tell their grown-ups
Of big things they come across
Of kids on playgrounds and online
Causing fear and pain and loss

It takes courage to put what’s right
Before what other kids might say
The rewards are so much greater
Like a safer place to play

A place where kids trust other kids
To always have their backs
And bullies know their hurtful games
Will be stopped in their tracks

Then some bullies won’t be bullies
They’ll learn a better way
To treat their fellow youngsters
As they go about their day

And those who cling to bullying
To deal with what’s inside
No matter what the grown-ups do
No matter how they try

They’ll be without an audience
To cheer on their bad acts
Their power will be less and less
You’ll get your safety back

A code of silence only makes
A scary place to be
Where only the aggressive kids
Feel comfortable and free

You’re not a snitch when you can save
A child from so much grief
Stomach aches every morning
Your act would bring relief

When all your friends will speak up
When they’re seeing something wrong
Your whole class will stand together
United, brave and strong

So when do you tell a grown-up
When’s the time to raise an alert?
Now you’ve learned it’s never tattling
When a child is being hurt

2 thoughts on “When Do You Tell a Grown-up?

    1. junglegymjamsite Post author

      Thanks Haley! I agree we need to stand up for those who are targeted for bullying

      It’s helpful to look at bullying as a symptom of a disease. Removing the rewards of bullying is like removing wine from an alcoholic’s environment. In the poem, when I say “Some bullies won’t be bullies,” if they go to a school where they can expect not to get away with bullying behavior, they’ll adapt and choose more constructive behavior.

      Others, more hardcore in their commitment to picking on more vulnerable kids, will need to see their audience dwindle and their power fade, as those lonely, isolated kids have more support among their schools and communities.

      Overall, kids who feel they need to bully are in need of professional help – a decision up to their parents or caretakers, who themselves may be abusing these same kids and unlikely to arrange that help. It’s complicated.

      I’m glad you’re part of the conversation, Haley!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *