When I asked children or teens in my counseling office, “What would you most like your family to do together?” almost all said, “Laugh.”
Laughter. It’s amazing that so many troubled children and teens long for laughter in their homes. Why is that so important? Think about times in your life when you were in a stressful relationship. You probably weren’t laughing together.
We can’t fake laughter to make kids feel better about their families. But, we can work to make the relationship better so that laughter is a natural outflow of a good relationship. Laughter is a barometer of a family’s status.
Listen to your family as they gather for a meal, work together, and play together. If you notice an absence of laughter, there are two possible causes.
1. You may just need to lighten up. Leading a stressful, rushed life sometimes causes us to adopt a grim attitude toward what might ordinarily cause laughter.
2. You may discover that one family member is hurting. A hurting person often responds in anger toward everyone else. Then no one feels like laughing.
There is one important rule about laughter in a family. A person is only allowed to joke about his or her own mistakes or shortcomings, not someone else’s.
Look for ways for your family to laugh together. Your kids will love it, especially when one of you laughs so hard you can hardly catch your breath. Now, that’s good, healthy family fun.