Raising children is serious business. You’ve got to feed them, clothe them, wash them once in awhile, teach them right from wrong, and train them to become decent human beings who hopefully contribute something worthwhile to society beyond the dissemination of daily selfies.
Raising children is also hilariously entertaining. They say ridiculous things, pull crazy amusing stunts, and act like drunken idiots (which is probably much funnier when they’re toddlers than when they’re teens).
I believe it’s possible to poke fun at the whacked out things your children say and do without insulting or belittling them. In fact, your shared merriment can strengthen your connection with one another and provide other mutual benefits.
Here are some reasons why having a laugh at your kids’ expense/comedic brilliance can be good for the both of you.
1) Because they’re only young once
Your children have a limited time to act like juveniles and get away with it. Before long, those implicitly phallic freehand drawings will go from inducing stifled giggles to earning a swift trip to detention. So grant your kids some measure of immature expression and relish the sweet silliness of youthful innocence.
2) To diffuse and distract
Never underestimate the tension-relieving value of a well-timed chuckle. Adding levity to a stressful situation can help de-escalate a rising tantrum, interrupt a sibling quarrel, and in general, stop the crazy train from flying off the rails. To help your kids get rolling on the laugh track, consider using the tried and true buffooning-adult-mimicking-irrational-childhood-behavior routine.
3) For busting boredom
It’s OK to admit it: Parenting can be boring. From mindlessly schlepping your kids around town to prepping approximately 457,000 PB&J sandwiches, you’re living the nightmare of parental monotony. Why not break up the tedium by playing up the humor? For example, while folding laundry, joke that you’re making a giveaway pile with all their favorite shirts to provoke a gleeful uproar. Messing with your kids = surefire hilarity.
4) To boost their confidence
Efforts to build your child’s self-esteem need not be limited to praise for hard work or compliments about their unique (albeit unusual) sense of style. By laughing at your kids in an appreciative – not harsh or demeaning – manner, you demonstrate how they can influence and inspire others, thereby reinforcing their positive self-image and reassuring them that they add value to the world at large.
5) To knock that stick outta your butt
Even if you’re not a certifiable helicopter parent, you can benefit from loosening your uptight, adult logic-imposing ways and appreciating your kids’ absurd antics. Try it the next time you’re wandering through Hobby Lobby: in the midst of yelling at them to quit horsing around before they break something, take a moment to admire their creativity coming up with novel ways to adorn oneself with decorative knobs and hooks.
6) Because they’re legit funny
Whether intentionally trying to win a smile or accidentally creating a farcical scene, kids can be pretty dang funny much of the time. Which other demographic of society could supply such a limitless source of viral videos showing slapstick wipeouts, captivating dance moves, and comically timed interruptions of important business conversations? Think of it as cheap entertainment; you could either spend a fortune and see Jim Gaffigan on stage, or stay home and mock your own kids.
7) So you don’t cry
You leave your kids unsupervised for a minute and return to find they’ve destroyed the one decent piece of furniture you own, buried the dog in a pile of briefly clean sheets, and flushed the car keys down the toilet. Once the initial shock passes, you have a choice as to which type of hysterics you’ll burst into: understandable but worthless tears, or soul-satisfying belly laughs. It won’t get your house back in order, but it can calm your overwrought nerves and throw your trouble-seeking children off their guard.
8) For the love
From infancy to high school graduation and beyond, you can promote secure attachment, model healthy social interaction, and provide a constant source of encouragement by showing your children you delight in them. At any age or stage, you can see the cheerful effect of affectionate communication as their faces light up when you smile and laugh at them. So make it a priority to regularly get a kick out of your little madcap entertainers as you together enjoy the running gags of growing up.