Isn’t it good to be able to belly-laugh? To be able to laugh at a good joke? To laugh along with your friends who have a great sense of humor? To laugh at life instead of being over-serious about the things that we allow our minds to dwell on for a disproportionate amount of valuable time when we could be care-free and skip through the meadows of our dreams.

Readers Digest had it right when they always had a section called, ‘Laughter, the Best Medicine’ in their monthly book. So many tales I used to read about hilarious moments of unplanned events in people’s lives. Stuff happens! It just happens.

Laughter and enjoyment are part of our human psyche and do wonders to our body. The release of endorphins (the ‘feel good’ fellas) gives us a sense of well-being. The absence of stimulation to this part of our brain can lead to depression or worse, so seek to be around vibrant, happy and positive people if you haven’t got a grip on those things. To be around negative, sad and unstimulating people is a bit of a drag.

When your child does or says something wrong, yet it’s hilarious, and you just want to burst out laughing, and know you shouldn’t because it would just reinforce the naughty happening, what do you do? I can remember having to turn my back to hide my mirth. Kids, in their innocence, can be so funny. When it is appropriate to laugh out loud, do so. This is an affirmation to your child that what they said/did was acceptable.

On the other hand, I have seen parents reinforce the behavior by laughing at a child’s negative or unacceptable response. Laughter is a very reinforcing acceptance of what has been said or done, so be careful to use self-control in these situations. I have one particular grandson who was born with a sense of humor. He delights in life, is the ultimate optimist and mostly sees the bright side of things. One day recently this 4 year-old said to his mother, “I love you so much that I’d like to give you 200 hugs.” As my daughter braced herself for all these hugs, he gave her one long hug. His mother said, “What happened to the 200 hugs?” He replied, “I can’t give you all 200 at once. I’ll have to spread it out over 200 days or it will crack my heart!”

Written by Brian Burgess, School Counselor, PPE Nashville. (These are my opinions and not those of PPE)