Change the World

8 Tips to Explain Cyberbullying to a Small Child

One of the hardest parts of being a parent is when we witness our child hurting, be bullied, or ridiculed by other kids. We are often helpless in these types of situations and it happens to almost all of our sons and daughters at some point in their lives. Sometimes our unique families are confusing and hard for some people to accept. Unfortunately, for children of LGBTQ parents, our identities automatically elevate our kids' risks for bullying of any kind.

For today's children, the most popular form of bullying is cyberbullying. Recent studies have found that almost 90 percent of teens have witnessed digital bullying. To wrap our heads around this, consider that just a few years ago it was estimated that only 27 percent of our kids had encountered online bullying. Under our watchful eyes, cyberbullying rates have tripled even with all of our assemblies, campaigns, and zero tolerance policies.

This is saddening because we know how damaging bullying can be for a young person. However, cyberbullying can be a lot more dangerous, because our kids live in a highly connected online world. Their love of technology and all things digital gives unlimited opportunities for bullies to attack or leave cruel messages any time of day or night.

Many people often assume that we can simply turn off a cell phone or delete a cruel message. Unfortunately, cyberbullying happens in a variety of ways and changes with new platforms or technologies that hit the market. It's no secret that children are incredibly adept at finding new ways to lash out at others. Regardless of how it occurs, cyberbullying can cause a vicious cycle to develop which results in depression, loneliness, anxiety, and even thoughts of self harm.

All parents need to begin proactively approaching cyberbullying when their children are young to prevent it from becoming a bigger issue later. Listed below are 8 tips to explain cyberbullying to small children:

#1. Make sure to stress it's not them, it's other people that are the problem

There is nothing wrong with our children or families. There are always going to be people who don't agree or like us. We need to ignore them and do what's best for our family.

#2. Remember young children are literally concrete thinkers

This is important, because they might not be able to comprehend objects, principles, morals, or large ideas until they hit adolescence, usually around 11 years old.

#3. Keep it simple

For most young children a simple explanation is all that is needed. Avoid going into too much detail. Often, kids are happy just getting an answer to their questions. As a child ages, though, we may want to start explaining in more detail based on maturity and need levels.

#4. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all

We need to stop telling our kids that words can never hurt them, because they can. Talk about the power of words with children to help them realize once something is said, it can never be taken back. For young children, use read alouds, movies, and stories to help them understand this concept.

#5. Model kindness, respect, and appropriate coping methods

Our relationships often expose us to more ridicule and slurs than other families. We need to avoid name calling, yelling, and anger. Our kids are watching our reactions, so we need to lead by example.

#6. Practice ways to handle cyber bullying and empower them with skills to diffuse the situation

By teaching them how to handle bullying situations, they will not be caught off guard so they can handle the bully with tact and grace. Let them know that it is alright to walk away, ignore slurs, seek help from an adult, avoid arguments, and stand up for themselves safely. Roleplay possible situations with our kids while playing dolls or Legos.

#7. Help build empathy and compassion

Unfortunately, not every child is a victim of cyberbullying. Far too often our kids can become the bully. We need to make sure they have the ability to “wear another person's shoes" and feel empathy for others. Use books, movies, and volunteer to expose kids to a variety of feelings and circumstances.

#8. Begin an ongoing discussion about their feelings, bullying, and other problems they encounter

As parents, we need to keep the communication lines open to stay involved and on top of any developing situations. This process needs to start when our boys and girls are young so it comes as second nature when they are older.

How do you explain or handle bullying when it comes to your children and families? Let us know in the comments.


Read More:

Finding Ella

Two Dads, Five Foster Kids

After 12 Years of Struggle, Richard and Carlos are Finally Dads

Show Comments ()
Change the World

One Gay Dad's Fight Against Hate in Superior, Nebraska

Brian Splater is refusing to let homophobic and transphobic elected officials in his town go unchecked

Millie B. Photography

Guest post written by Brian Splater

No one ever should feel they will have a very lonely and secluded life as a child. But that is something me and many other gay kids believe as they are growing up.

The truth of the matter is there are people who will try everything in their power to have our rights go back in time instead of forward. It is very disheartening when these people are elected officials, or they are people who use their place of employment to spread their disgust and hate.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

This Gay Dad's Life Changed "Unexpectedly" Thanks to His Son's Love of Sports

Bradley Jacobs Sigesmund writes how trading "Broadway for baseball" helped him form straight male friendships in an essay for Shondaland

Bradley Jacobs Sigesmund, a gay dad of a 7-year-old son with his husband Jack, recently contributed a thoughtful essay for Shondaland that explores the unintended, but positive, consequence of his son's love of sports: straight male friends.

He writes, "One night in late May, seven dads stood in a bar singing "Happy Birthday" to me. Each of them were straight. How did this happen?"

As gay dads, many of us who have spent a lifetime avoiding anything that even remotely looked like an athletic league thanks to our experiences with homophobia in the world of team sports growing up. As dads, though, we're often forced back into these spaces to be supportive of our kids. (We've brought you similar essays in the past, most notably John Hart's funny piece about his sudden turn into a hockey dad).

But while many of us find the world of children's sports much more tolerable today, given the (reasonably) secure adult men that we've grown into, Bradley seems to have done the unthinkable: make friends with other (straight) dads involved in his son's athletic leagues.

"With Lucas regularly playing soccer, basketball, and baseball, sports now make up a large part of my weekly routine," Bradley writes. "And as it's turned out, a host of heterosexual dad comrades have been with me every goal, basket, and home run of the way." One dad educates Bradley on the existence of something called "turf shoes." Another on whether his son was better suited to be a midfielder or defender.

"If I ever worried I'd be alienated in the world of sideline-dads," Bradley concludes, "those feelings have long lapsed."

Read the great essay in full here.




Change the World

Doctor Refuses to Let Gay Dads Take Newborn Daughter Home, Citing Lack of 'Maternal Instincts'

Nick He says he and his husband got a crash course in discrimination against LGBTQ people the day his daughter Phoebe as born.

People Magazine's How I Parent section explores the "ins and outs of modern day parenting with moms and dads from all over the world." Recently, the magazine profiled Nick He, who is raising three daughters along with his husband Bryan Koehler, a gay dad family that we profiled on Gays With Kids last month.

In the profile, Nick reveals that when his daughter Phoebe was first born at a hospital on Fresno, California, the dads weren't able to take her home right away because they were two men, and therefore weren't equipped to deal with their daughter's health issues. "He said that she had a heart murmur and since we didn't have "maternal instincts," we couldn't take our baby home yet and if we tried, he would call Child Protective Services," Nick said.

Fortunately, Phoebe was released to their care after only a day. But for Nick and Bryan, it was a quick lesson in discrimination facing many LGBTQ parents. "I am thrilled to have my own family, but I feel like there's still a lot of judgment in the world right now," Nick said in the profile.

Nick is also the author of a book titled "Two Dads and Three Girls" which explores many of these issues in more detail. Here's a quick trailer the dads created to promote the book:


Two Dads and Three Girls - Trailer www.youtube.com


Entertainment

How Fatherhood Has Impacted Tom Daley's Diving Career for the Better

British diver Tom Daley, and new-ish gay dad, is looking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in South Korea.

British diver Tom Daley is currently in the running to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in South Korea, his fourth if he competes, at the young age of just 26.

But he also has another concern that most young gay men his age couldn't fathom—fatherhood. He and his husband, filmmaker Dustin Lance Black, recently welcomed Robbie Ray via surrogacy in June 2018.

In an interview with the Independent, Daley explained how fatherhood has changed his routine and training, which he says is often for the better.

"It has changed my life completely in all of the best ways possible," Daley said. "It has changed my perspective, the way I think about things. [My son] is the most important thing in my life, everything I do is for him, everything I think about he is at the forefront of everything."

With respect to his diving career, Daley continued, "if you have a bad day at training, or a good day, you are grounded immediately when you get home through the door because you are having cuddles or you are having to change a dirty nappy. It is the first time that I have been able to leave diving at the diving board and not think about what I need to the next day in the pool."

Whatever the challenges he faces while training, he said, "I can leave it there because you don't have time to think about diving when you are looking after a kid under one."

The strategy seems to be working in Daley's favor. He recently enjoyed his most successful FINA Diving World Series ever this past Spring in Canada, winning 12 medals across five events. And barring any major catastrophe, he is overwhelmingly expected to qualify for South Korea 2020.

And we can't wait to cheer the young dad on!

Politics

America's First Gay Dad Governor Heads Into the Lion's Den

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently became the first elected Democrat to speak at the annual Western Conservative Summit in Denver

Last Friday, American's first gay dad Governor, Jared Polis, became the first elected Democrat to speak at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where he urged the Republican crowd to help him build a "Colorado for all."

"While we should never gloss over the things that divide us, there is a lot more that unites us," Polis said. "When we close ourselves off from discussion or debate, and we reject the possibility of hearing and understanding other perspectives, it threatens the fabric of our democracy."

If he was hoping for a Kumbaya moment, he didn't exactly get it. As he was called to the stage, he was greeted with a smattering of applause—while others booed and shouted for a "recall" of the Governor.

"It was almost unbearable for me to sit there to listen to his talk," Abby Johnson, one of the event's attendees, told the Denver Post. "And I'm going to tell you why. He kept talking about equality for all persons, yet we live in a society where 60 million innocent human beings have been slaughtered in the name of choice. Where is their justice? Where is their equal rights?"

Polis was also criticized from his left flank for attending the same event that refuses to let the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay GOP members, participate—and that featured Donald Trump Jr. as a speaker the same day. "To me it feels like vanity," Katie Farnan, a staffer with progressive group Indivisible, told the Denver Post. "He can go and be a hip Democratic governor who isn't afraid to go into GOP sanctuary. Or maybe it's recall insurance. But unless he was there to hold them accountable for their support for fascist and racist policies, what's the point?"

In response to the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Polis told the Colorado Sun: "I think it's very important that Coloradans of different ideologies, different races, different geographies, different orientations and gender identities all really celebrate that we're all part of what makes Colorado great."

The event is hosted each year by Colorado Christian University to bring together conservatives from around the state, and the larger West.

What do you think, dads? Was Polis's decision to speak at the event a savvy political move or mere pandering?

Entertainment

Hate Group Boycotts 'Toy Story' for Featuring Lesbian Moms—Hilarity Ensues on Twitter

"One Million Moms" announced a boycott of the latest Toy Story movie for *very briefly* featuring lesbian moms. Twitter's response was swift and hilarious.

One Million Moms, which is affiliated with the anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, recently called for a boycott of Toy Story 4 for (very, very briefly) featuring (interracial!) lesbian moms in the animated film. The angry, hateful moms affiliated with this group must have watched the film VERY closely because you could easily blink and miss the moment that apparently "blindsided" viewers.

The Internet reacted with a collective facepalm to the ridiculous boycott. Here are some of our favorite hilarious Twitter reactions to the hateful group:

Keep reading... Show less
Travel

The Golden Age of Vacationing With Kids

WARNING: BUCKLE UP, YOU'RE ABOUT TO READ WAY TOO MANY GOLDEN GIRLS REFERENCES.

Ever feel like you need a vacation from your family vacation? For years, we did too. But I'm happy to report that we don't anymore. So what caused the big shift? I'll get to that. First, a little background.

For years, taking our son Max on road trips had its fair share of, shall I say, challenges. From New York City to London to San Francisco to Vegas… we traveled down the road and back again. And while we made wonderful memories along the way… these trips weren't entirely wonderful. Whether it was Max's inflexible sleep schedule, his limited food palate, potty training, his disinterest in walking or his inability to fully express himself, it never quite felt like a real vacation because we never got to actually relax. But now that Max is almost nine years old, we decided to give it another go… and so we booked a much-needed respite in Florida with one goal in mind — cheesecake — okay, two goals: we wanted to catch our breath!

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse