The Comedy of Parenting

By Sarah MacLaughlin, LSW

Long before we became parents (or even started dating for that matter) my partner and I prepared for parenthood. This took many forms, of course. One example is that I took some Early Childhood Education classes. My husband, Rich, took several workshops in stand-up comedy. If you think my skills outweigh his, you’d be wrong. I’ve got the theory part down. But he just kills it with his execution.

I know what I should do—what response would be best. I know how to use humor, silliness, and just plain Playful Parenting, but often; I react instead. That doesn’t usually go so well.

Every parent loses their temper from time to time. Small children want what they want and are happy to show their feelings when they don’t get it. Volume control is nonexistent. Conflicting needs, compounded by a child’s yet-to-fully develop-brain are difficult to navigate.

Rich has been paving his way as a parent with comedy from the beginning. He is a creative genius in this department. He has a litany of characters, each with their own voice and personality. They tell outrageous stories and ask ridiculous questions. He gets it all wrong and pretends to know nothing. My son Joshua thinks this is hilarious.
In situations where patience is required, I can usually hold my own, but certain circumstances just irk me. A big trigger is when I override my own good sense and engage in some sort of “bargain” with my four-year-old. (A word to the wise: Do not ever do this.)

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