Teaching Kids A Sense of Humor That Isn’t Insulting


Having a sense of humor is really important in my family…we love to laugh at and with each other.

But I don’t want my kids to turn into a bunch of bullies who laugh at other’s expense.

So, we have talked a lot about what is funny, and what is NOT funny.

As my kids vocabulary grows so does their love of words like “doodie-butt” and “doo doo face.”

Name-calling is apparently the funniest thing in the world according to my 4 year old, next to telling someone they smell like fill-in-the-blank.

So, I am turning the tables on all-things-silliness.

If my four year old decides to call me a doodie-butt in a silly moment.  I will look at him with a serious face, and calmly but sternly tell him… “Hurtful words aren’t funny, but I love when you are silly.  Try calling mommy ‘honey bunches’ when you want to be silly.  Okay CUTIE PIE HONEY BUNCH!”  And I throw a name right back at him that is “silly” or “cute” but not offensive.

If my four year old decides to tell me that I smell like something stinky.  Again, I look at him (without freaking out like I am a thirteen year old in defense mode…come on parents- we are the grown-ups here) and just seriously, calmly, and sternly tell him “I love when you are in a silly mood, but it is FUNNY when you tell mommy I smell like something that doesn’t really stink.  Sooooo, let’s try: ‘You smell like cinnamon.'” (Cue the huge laugh like that was the funniest thing we have heard in forever).  “Or… “You smell like SUGAH, sugah (also known as sugar).”  HAH!

And finally, we like to tell stories around here.  Stories that people relate to, and then we put a spin on them with some slight exaggerations and expressions thrown into the mix.  I usually make facial expressions like “REALLY?!?” and ask questions like “What happened next?” or “What was that like?” to get my kiddos to make some funny associations.

These little exercises have made a big difference in our kid’s perceptions of what is funny, and what is not okay.

My son now REGULARLY asks me “Mom, is that funny?”

“Mom, is that silly?”

“Mom, is that a mean word?”

We want our kids to keep their sense of humor and not lose it all together from the parent police.

So for us, it just boils down to funny is silly but not hurtful.

What’s your take on this?

 



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