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Accepting the Power & Responsibility of Being a Trusted Adult

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


The power of one trusted adult in a child’s life is great, and the combined power of many trusted adults is even greater. The good news is that every adult can build the competence and capacity to show up as a trusted adult for young people! 

 

When a young person comes to you because they have a worry or concern, need something, want to share exciting news, are looking for advice, or any of the many other reasons they might seek you out, you have three options: exploit, ignore, or embrace.

 

The sad reality is that some adults will exploit their relationships with children. This is why it is so crucial to teach children about boundaries from a very early age.

 

Teaching young people what is okay and what is not okay, how to voice their discomfort, and who to talk to if they feel something isn’t right is as important as...

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Who Was There for You?

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


Looking back on your life, can you identify obstacles, hurdles, and risks that tripped you up, set you back, or interfered with your journey toward self-actualization and success?

 

With adult perspective, it becomes easier to identify which of the obstacles, hurdles, and risks were truly harmful, and which were simple childhood or adolescent woes that didn’t have long-lasting detrimental impact. Not getting the sneakers I wanted for my birthday; getting caught smoking cigarettes; self-hate and harm after being denied by a college I dreamed of attending— I can recall many obstacles that felt like the end of the world. As I reflect on my developing thoughts and behaviors, I can place these actions on a spectrum from silly to serious, but I can also vividly recall that in the moment they felt like life-altering, unmanageable, irreparable...

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The 4 Modes of Trusted Adulting

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


We know from the research that trusted adults can make a profound difference in the lives of young people, and my last blog post I asked you to reflect on the adults who were there for you. But not all trusted adults play the same role for youth. In fact, trusted adults show up in many forms, and for different durations. Our own interviews and research at One Trusted Adult have told us that, no matter the form or the length of time trusted adults are active in a young person’s life, young people need four different modes from the adults who surround them at any given time. 

 

Here are the four essential modes of trusted adulting, called the 4 Cs:

 

Cheerleading. 

Sometimes a trusted adult meets the needs of a young person by serving as a cheerleader. Being cut from a team, losing an election, failing a quiz, and experiencing...

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Trusted Adults, Mentors, and Role Models—Every Child Needs ’Em All!

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


Have you ever heard the quote, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future?” In my work with young people, I use this phrase to prompt discussion on the power of influence. The greatest predictor of our preferences, choices, and habits is the network of people that surrounds us. In other words, we mirror and mimic much of what we see. The good news is that we have the opportunity to craft this network of powerful people in our lives to meet our needs and help us follow our dreams. 

 

When engaging in a conversation with young people about their network, it is important to go further in defining, specifically, the roles that adults play in their lives. Here are three categories we want to make sure they understand and have represented in their sphere of influence:

 

Trusted Adults: 

A trusted adult is someone a...

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Boundaries Aren’t Mean. They Keep Us Safe

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


In my many interviews with adults and young people about their trusted adults, I have heard the following phrases repeated:

 

My trusted adult . . .

“was always there for me.”

“was fair and predictable.”

“was invested in my success.”

“knew me and noticed me.”

“always made me feel safe.”

“challenged me when I needed it, and celebrated me when I deserved it.”

 

Using this data, my team and I were able to classify trusted adult qualities into three critical categories we call the ABCs: Accessible, Boundaried, and Caring. Being accessible and caring is pretty straightforward and intuitive for most parents and youth-serving professionals, but we see the need for conversation where boundaries meet being accessible and caring. 

 

Accessible without boundaries can sound...

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Better Boundaries

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


In my last blog post, I shared the importance of boundary discussions for the safety of youth and the safety of you. It is appalling that we even have to discuss the ways that spaces set up to serve young people can end up being the places where they are neglected, abused, or exploited, but recent statistics say that 1 in 10 children will experience educator-to-student sexual misconduct. This is tragic, and must be addressed.  

 

There are three factors legal teams have identified as leading to boundary break in organizations:

 

  • Absent or ineffective leadership: If the safety of children is not the number-one priority for the leadership of an organization or school, then it is unlikely to be the priority for the team.

 

  • Environments lacking peer-to-peer (colleague-to-colleague) accountability: Breaking the silence and...
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Brick Wall Boundaries

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


Better boundaries was the focus of my last blog post, and we discussed the importance of our wellness and our willingness to talk about boundary setting in order to maintain healthy, strong, safe, and lasting connections with young people. Reading that post alone, as a new educator, would have given me more time on boundary training than I received in my 10 years working in schools. What about you? What kind of trainings or discussions have you had professionally, or personally, about the importance of setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries? 

 

Through hundreds of interviews at One Trusted Adult, I have learned that few youth-serving organizations approach boundaries in a proactive way. Some educators told me that boundaries were never discussed, unless it was in response to an infraction, violation, or scandal that occurred within...

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Chain-Link Boundaries

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


In my previous article, I introduced you to my four-part Framework for Sustainable Safeguarding and Better Boundaries. Do you remember the categories? 

 

Brick Wall Boundaries concern preventing illegal acts, violations, and termination-warranted and trauma-inducing offenses. 

 

Chain-Link Boundaries are an added layer of responsibility and obligation for adults in professional and formal volunteer roles with young people. 

 

Baby Gate Boundaries are the contextual agreements that rely on setting, culture, space, and time, and can be adjusted as relationships change. 

 

Invisible Fence Boundaries are not always seen or spoken, but they are silently agreed-upon norms that impact how we behave and relate in a group setting. 

 

In this blogpost , we will explore Chain-Link Boundaries. 

 

...

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Baby Gate Boundaries

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult.


5 Minute Read 


We are continuing to work our way through One Trusted Adult's four-part framework for Sustainable Safeguarding and Better Boundaries. Discussing boundaries in each of these categories allows us to show up as the healthiest and safest trusted adults for other peoples’ children, and keeps us alert and attuned to boundaries we should expect in the relationships our own children have with adults outside the home. 

 

Brick Wall Boundaries prevent illegal acts, violations, and termination-warranted and trauma-inducing offenses. 

 

Chain-Link Boundaries are an added layer of responsibility and obligation for adults in professional and formal volunteer roles with young people. 

 

Baby Gate Boundaries are the contextual agreements that rely on setting, culture, space, and time, and can be adjusted as relationships...

Continue Reading...

Invisible Fence Boundaries

Article By Brooklyn Raney, Guest Expert and author of the book One Trusted Adult


5 Minute Read 


In my last few blog posts, we have dug deep into practices, discussions, and considerations for bettering boundaries and sustainable safeguarding for the protection of youth and the protection of you. We have covered four types of boundaries:

 

Brick Wall Boundaries prevent illegal acts, violations, and termination-warranted and trauma-inducing offenses. 

 

Chain-Link Boundaries are an added layer of responsibility and obligation for adults in professional and formal volunteer roles with young people. 

 

Baby Gate Boundaries are the contextual agreements that rely on setting, culture, space, and time, and can be adjusted as relationships change. 

 

Invisible Fence Boundaries are not always seen or spoken, but they are silently agreed-upon norms that impact how we behave and relate in a group setting. 



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