Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook by Laura Markham

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids Workbook by Laura Markham

Author:Laura Markham
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids
ISBN: 9781683731153
Publisher: PESI Publishing & Media
Published: 2018-03-11T16:00:00+00:00


From the infectious release of side-splitting giddiness to the exuberance of an impromptu pillow fight, playfulness and laughter are one of the easiest and most powerful paths to connection. This isn’t surprising, since when we laugh our brain releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, into our bodies. That means that when you’re laughing with someone, you’re bonding. Laughter also transforms bad moods by decreasing the stress hormones circulating in our bodies and increasing our beta-endorphin and serotonin levels.94 You might visualize this as laughter siphoning off the whole top layer of mild fear and anxiety from your emotional backpack.

Why Not Tickle?

“My dad used to tickle me when I was a little girl. I now know it was his way of connecting but I hated being powerless when tickled. The weird thing was that I laughed so much that I could not even shout ‘stop!’ This made my dad think that I was enjoying it when actually I felt trapped and hated it.”

— Mari, mother of four-year-old and one-year-old

While most adults immediately think of tickling as the easiest way to get kids laughing, I don’t recommend tickling. It robs the child of control, which can create anxiety and an experience of powerlessness. The physiological response to tickling seems to involve a different part of the brain from the part that lights up when we laugh at a joke, which is more of a psychological release—and in roughhousing we’re hoping for that psychological release.

I hear from most parents that when they start doing other kinds of roughhousing, their children stop asking for tickling. If your child begs for tickling, that’s probably because he’s learned that tickling is a reliable way for you to laugh together. Try “air tickles,” where you threaten to tickle by wiggling your fingers close to her neck or tummy without touching. Your child will usually burst out laughing, especially if you’re laughing.


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