1. The Special Olympic kids are practicing and the teenage girls on the track team are laughing and gesturing at them. They bond while making fun of others.
2.A father is rolling his eyes and laughing when he disagrees with what his wife is saying to his teenage son. He is signaling agreement with his son and disrespect toward his wife.
3.Your teenage daughter’s friend is sort of “unfortunate” looking. You joke about this in an attempt to remind your daughter how lucky she is to have both your good looks and good genes. She should be grateful.
4.You believe that your teenage son’s friend is gay. You imitate him in an effort to humor yourself and your son.You end up looking immature and modeling insensitivity. There are other ways to bond with your teenage sons.
5.You drop your daughter off at her friend’s house and point out how the lawn certainly hasn’t been maintained. You make a joke about the sorry status of their home maintenance. You are trying to make your teenager appreciate how fortunate she is to live in a lovely home.
6.Your teenage son makes a clumsy attempt to kick the soccer ball during an important game. During Thanksgiving dinner you think it is hilarious to tell the story of your son’s unsuccessful attempt to score. No one laughs but you think that you are being entertaining.
The takeaway message here is that while humor is generally a good thing; it is not such a good thing when used at the expense of others. If you are a parent of a teen there are better ways of bonding with them than by mocking others. Although, you may feel connected in the moment you are ultimately teaching your teens that belittling others is acceptable. Remember that the intention of FUNNY is to have FUN but not while making fun of others!