• Adults often encourage kids to tell when they are being bullied or when they see others being bullied. Kids are reluctant to tell adults because they don't want to be called a tattle tale.

    There is a difference between tattling and telling. Telling is sometimes called reporting. The charts below will help you to work with your child to understand this difference and increase his/her comfort with telling if he/she is the victim of bullying or observes bullying.


    • The child telling wants to keep themselves or others safe.
    • The child telling is concerned about safety.
    • The problem is important and urgent.
    • Someone may be hurt or in danger.
    • An adult is needed to help solve the problem.


    • The child tattling wants to get someone else in trouble or avoid blame.
    • The child tattling may have something to gain, such as attention or popularity.
    • No one is hurt or in danger.
    • It is not an important problem and can be solved without an adult.
    • The child threatens to tell on another in order to control the other child.