Try not to groan at the corny dad jokes — they might actually be good for building kids’ resilience
Dad jokes, at one point or another, have slightly humiliated many kids. But according to a British Psychological Society‘s journal dated March 14, 2023, they might just be essential in life.
The study notes that dad jokes play a significant role in helping children learn to be embarrassed and toughen them up to accept that embarrassment isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Marc Hye-Knudsen, a researcher of humor and lab manager at Aarhus University’s Cognition and Behavior Laboratory in Denmark, explains how playfully striking on their children’s egos and emotions teach them impulse control and emotional regulation
“By teasingly striking at their children’s egos and emotions without teetering over into bullying, fathers build their children’s resilience and train them to withstand minor attacks and bouts of negative emotion without getting worked up or acting out,” Hye-Knudsen writes.
He continues, “In light of this, it is worth considering dad jokes as a pedagogical tool that may serve a beneficial function for the very children who roll their eyes at them.”
By continually telling their children jokes that are so bad that they’re embarrassing, fathers may push their children’s limits for how much embarrassment they can handle. In turn, this shows their children that embarrassment isn’t actually fatal.
Are dad jokes unfunny by default?
The term “dad joke” made it into the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2019 with the definition, “a wholesome joke of the type said to be told by fathers with a punchline that is often an obvious or predictable pun or play on words and usually judged to be endearingly corny or unfunny.”
Dad jokes often are responded to with a groan and an eye roll, but sometimes they’re so unfunny that they’re actually humorous, eliciting a little laugh.
Hye-Knudsen encourages dads to continue with their unfunny jokes — no matter how badly their children want them to stop.
“So to all the dads out there who love telling dad jokes to your kids: Don’t let their groans, their eye rolls, or their palpable irritation stop you. You’re partaking in a long and proud tradition, and your embarrassingly awful jokes may even do them some good,” he says.
“Keep repeating the same old stale puns, year-in and year-out. Through painful repetition, you get to experience the same old joke, go through waves of being unfunny and then so unfunny that it becomes funny,” he continues.
In the end, Hye-Knudsen is positive that one day the children at the receiving end of these dad jokes may spontaneously tell the same joke themselves when they become parents.
Banner Art Dani Sison