We love Tickling our children. We certainly enjoy it when our kids laugh. And how can we make them laugh? By tickling, of course. And their laughter also makes us think that they are enjoying this moment just as much as us. But tickling has a negative side. Here, we explain why tickling is not the right way to have some fun time with your kids.
Children cannot stop themselves from laughing when someone tickles them. They may even hate it. A study which was conducted by the scientists at the University Of California in 1997 found that the laughter from tickle and of hearing a joke is not the same (1). It doesn’t create happiness unlike when a person laughs after hearing a funny joke. Tickling only creates an external illusion when a person laughs.
The study included 84 participants of which 61 were female. The behavior and self-reported emotional responses were examined by letting them come across 3 different scenarios. In the first condition, the participants were tickled for 10 seconds. The second condition was listening to a comedy routine series. And the third and the last condition included immersing one of their hands in circulating cold water in a bucket as long as they can tolerate it. Both painful, as well as humorous stimuli, were included to find out what the tickle responses most resembled.
There Are Better Ways To Have Fun
If you have a child and you love tickling him/her, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Your Kid May Not Be Able To Ask You To Stop
Tickling can cause fits of laughter which you have no control over. And sometimes it becomes hard for us to stop. This nonstop laughter may make it hard to breathe. But your kid may not be able to tell you that before catching their breath.
2. It May Be Seen As A Way Of Dominance
Being tickled may make us lose our self-control. It can be hard to gain control of ourselves and maybe quite a struggle. For kids, even if we mean to have fun, it might not be fun for them. Dr. Richard Alexander – professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, says that it can be done to assert dominance and laughing can be seen as a way of being submissive (2).
3. Tickling Can Be Used As A Way To Torture
Have you ever tried tickling your sibling? And we don’t mean as a way of fun, but to torture them. The Japanese even coined a word for it- kusuguri-zeme. It simply means merciless tickling. So, it’s safe to say that it can be used as a form of physical abuse.
4. There Are Far Better Ways To Show Your Love
As parents, we all know what’s best for our kids. And from experience, it might seem like tickling is normal. And since you now know that there are several pitfalls to tickling, you might want to avoid doing it to your child. And before you go on tickling your child, it’s better to ask their permission first. Since it’s something that affects their body, don’t you think it’s always better to seek their permission?
Though tickling may sound like fun and a thrilling experience for you, ask yourself if your child is going to feel the same way? There are better options to bond with your kid like playing games or engaging in some other fun activity that doesn’t involve tickling. We generally think we are doing the right thing just because it’s in the best interest of our child. But it may not be the case all the time.
What are your views on tickling? Did you love being tickled as a child? Do you believe it’s completely harmless? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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