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What you need to know:

  • Be careful what you say to children, they might take it to heart. 

Humour is good but what if it hurts and discourages someone? When children become the target of family jokes, it can hurt. Parents or relatives tease children in the name of humour. They don’t mean to offend, but they seem completely unaware of the impact their jokes are having on a child’s self-esteem. In such situations, children can feel mocked and humiliated. Using sarcasm to highlight one’s mistake cannot be a good way to encourage them, especially if you do it to children as they are impressionable.

An adult can be mature enough to not take these jokes personally but children won’t have the capacity to digest it. Some youngsters are as sensitive as I am. There are enough bullies at school for us to deal with, and we shouldn’t have to protect ourselves from our own parents too.

When jokes are truly funny, everyone laughs. But notice your child’s response. If you say or do something light-heartedly and realise it wasn’t received that way, make a genuine apology. It can also be insensitive to talk to your friends and family about things your child does in front of your child itself. When you joke or laugh with someone else in the presence of your child about something he or she said in all seriousness, you may embarrass him, or worse, betray his or her trust in you. Keep a notebook for writing down all the witty and profound things he says and does, so he can enjoy reading about them when he’s older. And if you want to raise children who can laugh at themselves, the best thing to do is to model it for them. Be more conscious handling them.

- The reader is a Dubai-based student.