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If Kids Develop A Sense Of Humor By Mimicking Their Parents, I Hope Mine Understand Sarcasm

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shutterstock_103056707__1371915216_142.196.156.251I read an article in The Telegraph this morning titled, “Children Can Only Be As Funny As Their Parents.” Apparently, kids learn to have a sense of humor by mimicking their parents and a study shows that they may start developing their own at as young as 18 months. Now I’m freaked out. What if my kid doesn’t get my brand of humor?

Young children learn to be funny by copying adults, so it is likely that they will develop similar senses of humour to their parents’.

Psychologist Dr Meredith Gattis said: “Children learn many things, including how to be funny, by imitating adults.

Dr Gattis added: “When we held a toy animal on top of our heads and giggled, most 19 to 24 month olds realised it was a joke action and copied it.

Holding a toy animal on top of your head and giggling? That’s not funny. Subtlety is funny – am I right? I’m not the kind of parent that entertains my kid by making funny faces and balancing things on my head. I am not a clown. My sense of humor is more nuanced. Do you think my two-year-old gets it? “The academics found parents speak differently to their children when they are joking, helping babies develop a sense of humour.” Oh no. I’m more into sarcasm, which notoriously depends on a more flat-line delivery. My kids are screwed.

I’m kidding. I can be goofy with my children. This study just moved me a little because it made me realize that I did pick up a lot of my style of humor from my dad. He was infinitely hard to read, but always making jokes. If you didn’t know him well, you probably weren’t always sure that he was joking. It’s funny to think that our kids may pick up the subtleties of our personalities – and one day may develop some of the characteristics that we consider “ours.”

It also made me realize that it’s necessary to step away from yourself at times and become what your children need when you are interacting with them. A study like this may make me try a little harder to engage in the type of goofy play that makes my kids laugh – even though those types of actions aren’t intrinsically part of my personality. The study elaborates that “experts believe a well-developed sense of humour can boost a person’s immune system, contribute to a more optimistic outlook on life, and increase self-esteem.”

I’m going to go make some faces now.

(photo: Szazs-Fabian Ilka Erika/ Shutterstock)