How do I explain to my children that I'm a furry? Got two of them and want to stop them from getting bullied for having a dad who dresses like a kangaroo.
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Apparently, your children already know you dress as a kangaroo, so how does explaining you're a furry change that? Since your kids' schoolmates already know, too, then adding that you are a furry will not stop the bullying. Indeed, it could make it more severe.
First of all, if your kids are being bullied, make sure the school administrators know. I hope it is not violent bullying that causes physical harm, but even psychological bullying is cruel and damaging. Either way, bullying should not be tolerated in any way.
The schoolyard functions much like a wolf pack. There are alpha wolves and there are omega wolves. The wolves at the bottom get picked on by the top wolves to maintain a social hierarchy. Such hierarchies exist in both the animal kingdom and human society. If your children were not being picked on for having a dad who dresses as a kangaroo, odds are they would get picked on for something else because I'm guessing they aren't jocks or on the top of the social cliques.
You are, therefore, asking the wrong question. The solution is not so much about telling them you're a furry (although it is related; see below); the solution is to teach your children how to stick up for themselves. Schools are not just places to learn math and English; they are places where children learn to navigate difficult social and relationship situations.
You need to teach your children assertiveness, and step one is to be a model of assertiveness to them. Actually, your not telling them you are a furry is a bad lesson to them, so you are correct that you should tell them. By telling them you are a furry and what it means to you, you are demonstrating that you are not ashamed to be yourself. Next, you should explain that they should not be ashamed of who they are. Furthermore, tell them that it is not their job to defend their father. Next time a bully gets in their faces about their kangaroo dad, tell them they should invite those bullies to your house, dress up as a kangaroo, and entertain them for a while. Ask your guests if they have ever pretended to be someone or something they are not, and encourage them to join in on a game of imaginative play. During the imaginative play, you can act out scenarios in which you or one of your kids bullies the bully, but use it as a lesson, such as, "When Mary calls you a fat ass, how do you feel about that? How do you think it made her feel when you called her that?"
There are many strategies in dealing with bullies. The three main ones are to be assertive and confident (not defensive), don't be afraid (most bullies are cowards), and ignore/show no reaction to their bullying. Bullies, like online trolls, thrive on knowing they have somehow hurt you. If you show them their words don't affect you in the least, the bully withers and slinks away.
This page offers more instructions and strategies to help you and your kids: https://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/safety/helping-bullied-child.
Hope this helps!
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