Home . Radioshow . News Columns . Resources . Contact

The Taos News


can be heard discussing Positive Psychology here.


The healing power of humor within the family

June 2012

"Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers.  And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it." - Bill Cosby

Mr. Cosby’s wisdom has been said in many ways by many wise people, yet humor is rarely acknowledged as an important coping tool for the stressful times most families face.  Examples: a child failing an exam, mom burning the dinner, or even a young driver wrecking the family car.  But the fact is that one of the best ways to deal with a high-stress situation that your family can’t escape is to gently make fun of it.  Humor won’t make the problem go away, but it can give us a new perspective on it and help us get through even the most adverse situation.  Conversely, as clergyman Henry Ward Beecher said in the 19th century, "A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.  It's jolted by every pebble on the road."  Likewise, a family without humor can be a grim place for children to grow up or to be a parent.

We may not actually solve our problems with humor, but we might discover a way through while we are laughing.  No matter if it is an embarrassing situation, a minor upset, or a major setback, if we can see some humor in it, we can begin to distance and free ourselves from the event.  Even if you are not naturally a humorous person, you can learn a few tools that will add humor to your family’s life and create a more relaxed and accepting atmosphere in your home. 

It is impossible to anticipate all of the daily problems a parent may encounter, but if you anticipate some mishaps, you can also anticipate a line that eases the tension.  For example, when you spill your coffee, your son locks the keys in your car, or your daughter drops a bag of groceries, there are a few things you could say in place of the common response, which is to get angry.  Here are a few examples to get you started:  “Oh, what an opportunity for growth and learning!”  Or, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another!”  You could even use the famous line from Star Trek, “Beam me up, Scottie!”

Another idea to encourage the “funny bone” in your family is to either draw a picture or secure a photo of yourself and each of your family members in which you and/or they are laughing.  Keep these pictures in a place where you see them all the time, like the refrigerator door.  They will serve as a reminder that you all can laugh.

Here’s one more thing to try.  Make yourselves six-inch cardboard cutout smiles with elastic bands on them.  When you or someone else does not feel like smiling, you can put them on and look at each other.  You might find a real smile suddenly happening under the cardboard one.

It has been said that angels can fly because they carry themselves lightly.  We might not become angels just by laughing, but by using humor in our day-to-day lives we can keep things in perspective and see more than just the problem at hand.  When we can find some humor in our human predicaments, we focus away from our discomforts and, with a laugh or a smile, feel better.  And our children will trust us rather than fearing our wrath.


Home . Radioshow . News Columns . Resources . Contact