Discipline and Teach Children With Humor
Parents have to wear several “costumes” when training and disciplining their child. You can become a preacher talking about morality, a doctor when dealing with hurts, and a policeman navigating dangerous situations. But when it comes to tough discipline, your ideal costume should be a jester’s.
Psychologists believe that disciplining a child using humor reduces conflict and helps them remain connected to you as they grow. Humor helps to create connection, and building a positive relationship with your child makes it easier to calm their tantrums. Although there would be instances involving safety where a stern word is an appropriate way to deal with the situation, many other cases can be handled differently. You can harm your relationship with your child if you hold long discussions about their mistakes every single time they do something wrong.
Why Humor Is Appropriate For Child Discipline
The term “child discipline” sounds very serious and can be problematic. Using humor to correct and discipline your child is more fun and less stressful and helps you connect with them better while establishing discipline and setting limits. It also ensures that all parties feel better after the correction, unlike corporal punishments like spankings.
When it comes to child discipline, one of the most crucial factors is the relationship or connection between the child and their parent. While there are more ways than humor and play to create and maintain this connection, it’s probably the best. Every child lives in a world of play. So, their mistakes and corrections should be within their own little world.
Tips For Using Humor To Correct A Child
Several playful tips can be used to discipline your child when they act inappropriately. Some of these are:
Voice yourself: Enter your child’s room and tell them to clean it. Say this at your full lungs with a fake voice. Using different characters and funny voices helps diffuse tension between both parties.
Fake cry: Kids are startled by adults “crying” like babies. You just may short-circuit a tantrum with a belly laugh.
Dramatically Fall Down: This is ideal for toddlers. They seem to find it hilarious that adults fall because they do it often themselves.
Game it: You can set up symbolically aggressive games such as a pillow fight or play wrestling without going over the top.
How humor works for child discipline
There are several reasons why humor can be effective for child discipline:
It Gets The Job Done
Rather than screaming at your child to clean up their room and not make a mess of it, you can be comical in your approach. For instance, you can comically correct your child about laying on their bed by letting the bed talk. “I heard you bed crying earlier today. It was shivering and crying. I’m cold; please cover me.” This passes the message to your child, and you can be sure they wouldn’t want their bed to shiver or feel cold next time. So, they would have learned to make their bed once they woke up.
You can use humor to protect your children. If your child has a habit of dashing away from you in the parking lot, you can correct them using humor. For instance, you can play the blind man’s game. Put a (pretend) fold over your eyes, give the child your car keys and ask them to hold your hand and lead you to the car. This would help them realize what it means to be out of your sight.
Children already know when you’re going to give a negative response to something by simply looking at your face. Then they start to create resistance. The best way to break through this is by wearing your comic mask. Introducing humor when disciplining your child would help to snap them out of their regressive behavior. You can imagine a four-year-old asking to wear a diaper because they have a younger one doing the same. Rather than correct them harshly, you can play along. Get the small-sized diapers and try to put them on the child. The both of you will have fun trying to fit the diaper in the child, but ultimately, they’ll realize that they’re being silly and will stop asking. You would also be correcting the child while playing around with them.
Using Humor To Discipline A Child: Does It Spoil The Child?
It’s important to stress the difference between spoiling a child and using a playful approach to disciplining or correcting them. While you connect with them using humor to discipline, you don’t create any connections when spoiling a child.
You’re not making a connection by always giving in to your child’s antics when you can’t stand the whining anymore. But you won’t be going against your values or spoiling them if you give them a warm hug and ask them to play a game with you (to correct them). Handing them the box of cookies instead is what it means to spoil a child, and you’ll be going against good parenting values.
It’s possible to think that it’s not disciplinary enough to play with a child when disciplining them. It may even feel like rewarding the child when you respond to their bad behavior with humor or play. However, none of this is true. You can see discipline like food. Everyone can get cranky when hungry, but their crankiness doesn’t mean you won’t feed them.
Similarly, everyone needs human connection, and no on more than a child from their parent. You’re killing your child’s spirit gradually without this connection. It’s not a reward for bad behavior either. Feeding your cranky child isn’t a reward for their crankiness. If you’re able to see your child’s bad behavior as coming from a place of disconnection, then it’ll be easier to see that the solution is to create a connection.
Parents of teens and tweens, check out this post and video about the book “Don’t be a Pusi: A Politically Incorrect Book for Entitled Teens and Their Traumatized Parents.”
Dennis Lodge is a freelance journalist, blogger and copywriter who writes unique and research-based content with the best essays for the best essay writing services about education, parenting and children’s mental and physical health. He is the father of three children.