A good sense of humour would come in handy for all of your child’s life. It is a great communicative skill that will let your child have perspectives different from what is the obvious. Children survive adversities or everyday challenges, perhaps family problems, teasing or facing bullies when they ‘see’ the funny side of things.
Laughing is what little children grasp easily. However it is important for us as responsible grown ups to teach them the right sense of humour. Psychologists Thomas.E.Ford, Shaun.K.Lappi and Christopher.J. Holden would agree that sensible humour brings a positive aura to all social groups and enhances daily life whereas aggressive humour brings no improvement to people’s happiness. Laugh to lighten a situation or to make someone feel better but not to put someone down. Lead by example. Children go through a lot of tough situations like a bad day at school, bossy classmates, unimaginative teachers and rules to follow everywhere they go. Most of the kids would pour out their frustrations to parents, wherein instead of riding on their emotions you could look for ways to lighten the mood. This does not mean you belittle the problem itself. It only means that you could use a little wit while responding to your child.
Recently, I had a group of ten year olds walking with me who went berserk when they encountered a black cat. One of them explained that they had just heard from some friends about black cats bringing ill omen. Now, instead of simply going about why they are wrong and there is no such thing and that it was nothing but superstition, I also added that they could perhaps think that they are more powerful and could maybe eat it up. I was not trying hard to be funny but they knew I was up to some mischief. They undoubtedly made faces to show their disgust along with squeals of ‘ugh’ and ‘eww ‘ and ‘yuck’ and a vehement ‘NO’ from one of them. I said, “why not? Cats are soft and cuddly…maybe they have soft flesh, which might be yum to eat! There are some cultures where cats are a delicacy!” There were more ‘ewwws’ and ‘No way!’ chatter. Just about then we turned at a corner to find a huge Burger King hoarding that called out for ‘Grilled Hot dogs’, and I said “Well see, if there can be hot dogs there can surely be hot cats!!” That was it! Like I said,I was not trying to be funny and I am certainly not a Cyrus Broacha type but the kids loved the timing .Swells of laughter ensued and they completely understood why it was superstition.
It’s usually easier to have fun with younger kids especially when you are yourself in a good mood. However, if this style of interaction can be adopted in tougher, more annoying situations, with younger AND older teen kids, you will see that even the most difficult situations can be resolved without hue and cry.
With the teens, you would do good to keep your ideas or thoughts from getting too important. You most certainly would keep your stress levels down by playing the ‘game’ . You don’t insist on winning always. The same goes for your child, vice versa. Just make sure you have taught all matters of wisdom before the kid begins to play the game. Ideally aim to finish off with, ‘I want to talk with you’ moments, in the first thirteen years of parenting. By this time, think really hard. Teach them when the time is ripe, when your child really wants to listen to you. No point fretting when the inevitable ‘moving on into teens’ happen. Teach your child not to take herself/himself too seriously. It simply might be the most important lesson for life.
It’s good to know that with inkling to ‘see’ what’s funny about people, children would have health benefits too in the long run. More interesting though, for the kids themselves, is the apparent social benefits it would bring. It would help them get out of awkward situations for sure. Call it a ‘just joking’ moment. A good laugh will be remembered in any event or gathering and its source will always get a lot of attention.