As I perused the comic section of an unfamiliar newspaper while on a recent trip, I was baffled by the way a married couple was being portrayed in an otherwise seemingly modern comic strip. Hurling insults, overt disrespect, one-upmanship, sophomoric come-backs. I found myself thinking, “Even Andy Capp and The Lockhorns weren't THAT obnoxious".
When I approached the final frame, I realized what I was reading wasn't about a romantic couple, but a couple of siblings. Although the content then made a bit more sense, it occurred to me that we've got some serious work to do in the area of humor.
Where have you been getting your humor messages? Comics? Tv? Movies? Like so many Disney productions where sibling abuse has become the standard, expected interaction, I'm making a mental note to not waste my humor RAM on those productions or this strip. When there is genuine, innovative comic relief to be found in this world of unlimited options and possibility, falling back on sarcastic, insulting interactions posing as humor is, well, insulting! Surely we've come further than to always laugh at the expense of hurting someone else! Haven't we??
What can you do about it? Parents have a tough job balancing their values vs. cultural standards without having to be undermined by bad behavior posing as humor.
So here's a thought: Recognize that you deserve better. Refuse to watch the movies and shows made by production companies too lazy to create real entertainment, substituting it with tired, rehashed situations that rely solely on humiliation, then call it humor. Raise your humor standards, for the love of Pete, and think before you laugh. Is this really humor, or are you chortling out of habit, or duty, or discomfort? Ask your kids the same question.
When you begin to step back and become sensitized to what you're being fed as a consumer of entertainment, you'll cease to believe that siblings and families have to interact a certain way simply because “everyone is doing it". We don't want our kids to use that old excuse, it's time for parents to follow that same advise. Be bold about being a model for your children! What you do are what they're watching the most, by the way.
Natalie Tucker Miller teaches early education, adult education, and holds certifications in coaching. She believes that parents and teachers have many overlooked, undervalued challenges. As a coach and educator, she helps her clients and students uncover their true motivations, so they can enjoy what they do while inspiring others to their greatness! Visit her at http://www.UnParenting.com .