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Parental Teasing: Ever OK?

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

Humor has long revolved around seeing others get hurt. There is something funny about watching a friend trip and fall or a grown man fall backwards off of a swing. Another’s pain brings out peculiar feelings in us all. That’s why watching children who are teased seem almost funny. But there are enormous differences between accidental and inflicted pain.

First, these videos of children show inflicted pain. These are children who are used for the purpose of another’s “pleasure” and the viewer knows that the children are being set up. Second, teasing is involved. Whenever teasing occurs, there is a spirit of meanness disguised as humor. Most will argue that teasing is legitimate, but when I talk to children, I hear otherwise. I think that it is important to hear their side of the story since they are the ones who aren’t laughing.

When a parent teases a child, the child initially feels hurt. Then, the child feels that he has been betrayed (duped) and understands that he can’t trust the parent who is doing the teasing. So, by the time the child realizes that the teasing is for the purpose of humor, he doesn’t feel like laughing.

No one likes being teased- ever. Adults may nervously laugh after they have been teased, but even they feel humiliated beneath the laughter. Make the author of the teasing a parent of a small child and nothing feels even remotely good to the child.

Is it ever OK for a parent to tease a child? Not in my book. So let’s help these little ones out and speak out against the mean videos.

What do you think about these videos? Let me hear your thoughts.

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