“Laugh and Play” is an emotional fitness exercise. Jokes are fun, but can be cruel. Tips about how stopping cruel jokes and play  between siblings. First some laughs.

Which is your favorite? First and last are mine.

Which is your favorite? First and last are mine.

Healthy laughter is kind and never directly hurtful to another being.  Finally healthy laughter does not make fun of those in out  groups.

Parenting thoughts about Laughter

Here are the age and stage stepping stones involved in laughter: laughter starts with peek-a-boo, tickling; then moves up to animal and knock-knock jokes, scatological jokes follow, and finally comes an  appreciation of irony and satire.

Children are not naturally cruel when looking for fun and laughter, but if not taught kindness when it comes to joking and such, the playing  can become cruel.  Moreover, it can happen while most of the family are laughing and enjoying themselves. 

Both my brothers loved to tickle me until I was gasping for breath or had wet my panties.  Not fun for me. 

Both my brothers also loved to jump out from somewhere behind me and scare me. Innocent fun?  Not for me.  My back muscles still tense a bit when my back is not against a wall.  


Make certain that sibling fun is not unintentionally cruel.

Tip one: If you tickle a baby, tickle in short bursts with time to recover. Make all who tickle do the same.  

Tip two: As language develops help children develop the right to control their own bodies.  Start asking for a hug or a kiss.  If the child refuses, smile and say. “Your body, kiss and hug me when you want.  

Tip three: Let the child tickle you and say a loud “Enough” off and on.  Soon the child will follow your lead.

Tip four: Turn Pop Out and Scare into  a hide and seek game  all agree to play.  When all are not in the game, criticize the child scaring another and if seems to be a habit, punish with a time out.

Tip five: Model displeasure when media or real people make others the butt of cruel humor.  A quiet, “I don’t find that funny” makes the point. Also with cartoons, note, “No real person is being hurt.”

Tip six:  As your children age, make it a point to praise self-deprecating comedians. Watch a Josh Blue routine with your teens and comment on the strength he shows by accepting his difference and making fun of himself.  

Learn to make self-deprecating jokes about yourself.  


Life is a struggle and a kind sense of humor is essential to surviving the less than perfect moments with grace. Kind humor does not come naturally, human nature tends to find comfort it poking fun at others.  You and your children are  stronger when you can resist that temptation.

My book Twelve Easy Exercises discusses healthy play and laughter in greater detail.   Added value:  The book costs less than a Starbucks’ fancy latte, adds no calories and can be sipped over and over again. 

Perfect the ones you already to and add a new one or two.

Perfect the ones you already to and add a new one or two.

As noted earlier the Parents Are People Newsletter will soon be published.   A quick read, the newsletter will link you to the popular blog post of the two previous weeks,  add a new post, some news, poster coaches, jokes, and resources.  Sign up on the sidebar. 

As usual for all you do to support me, thank you.



The first: My advice is just that. Although based on what are called evidenced based practices, the is no guarantee it is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my exercises, if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser.

The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog post. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments.   Life is to short to let problems you can avoid annoy or stress you.

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