Finding humor in your crazy child

Finding humor in your crazy child

Note of caution: it’s never appropriate to make fun of a child.  The purpose of this article is to help a parent’s stress by finding humor in their situation, private humor–never to be shared with the child or anyone else who will share it with the child.

“I don’t suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.”

Things can only go downhill so far until you lose it.  Troubles build, going from bad to horrible, and then your child says something so bizarre or silly, and even though it may be politically incorrect, and even though it may seem sick or hurtful or embarrassing, there is absolutely nothing left to do but laugh.

“That boy gave me so much trouble, then one day he said to me, “Mom, why is it always about you?” !
–Mother of an 18-year-old son with mild schizophrenia

Stop pretending your family is normal.

For parents like you, humor is necessary, even “gallows humor.”  Laughter is a legitimate strategy for relieving stress, and brain scans prove it.  An emergency room nurse once told me that ER staff joke about patients to cope with the intensity of their job, but only among co-workers.  They diagnose some victims as “too stupid to live,” or refer to motorcyclists as “organ donors.”  The police joke amongst themselves about knuckleheads.  A juvenile justice therapist told me her team tells youth sex-offender jokes!

“… as high as 94 percent of people deem lightheartedness as a necessary factor in dealing with difficulties associated with stressful life events.”
–David Rosen, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Texas A & M University, May 2005

Even if you child-proofed your house, they would still get in.

You have permission to laugh at all the crazy, zany, exasperating, nonsensical, and nutball things your child does or says, just never in their presence… or in anyone’s presence who doesn’t understand. It doesn’t mean you don’t love or care your child, but it helps your own mental health. In the support groups I run, a parent will occasionally share a funny story about their troubled child and the room roars with laughter.

The 15-year-old girl had professed suicidal thoughts for so long that no one could remember a time when tragedy wasn’t looming. They had locked up every potentially dangerous item, but the terrified parents were never certain they could keep her safe from herself.  Removing the knives and rope was obvious.  But household chemicals?  Daily life became a quest to guess what else she could possibly use to kill herself, then hide it.  But her mother realized one day that her daughter would probably not ingest household chemicals.  They tasted too bad, and mom knew she would not go through the discomfort.

You can’t scare me, I have teenagers!

At health class in high school, the students saw a film about trauma in children.  Upon returning home from school, a 14-year-old son exploded with fury, berated his mother, then charged off to his room and slammed the door, once, twice, three times.  The mother was accustomed to this behavior and went to his room and attempted to calm him down.  He screamed, “I finally found out why I’m having so many problems!  I learned in health class that I am a ‘feral child’ because you abandoned me when I was a baby!

The 20-year-old schizophrenic son angrily obsessed that his mother spoke with his school counselor when he was 11.  He railed that this invasion of privacy was wrong, immoral, hurtful, illegal, unethical, and stupid, and every other sin he could think of.  Mom learned to let him vent, but one day she became exasperated and said, “That was nine years ago! I apologized a hundred times. What more do you want?” The son stopped for a moment, confused, and said, “I don’t believe you. Did you erase my memory again?

The 16-year-old daughter had bipolar disorder. She also had grandiose plans to become a famous person and lead an “epic” life.  She was immensely proud of having an ‘exciting’ disorder that gave her permission to be crazy.  Once she made an unsuccessful attempt to lose weight, explaining, “I tried anorexia but didn’t have the discipline.”


The main purpose of holding children’s parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own… or maybe not.

The mother of a violent 10-year-old daughter said “I just bought a gallon of spackle on sale, which is great.  Spackle is my friend!”  Another mother with a violent 16-year-old son agreed.  She said she’d become skilled at repairing and texturing dry wall after all the damage he’d done.  Both moms brainstormed starting a company to repair homes battered by troubled children. “It would help the parents, and we could offer support too… and not judge!”

Several parents with troubled children were sharing their frustration from hearing ‘normal’ families talk proudly about their wonderful children, and the fun things they did together.  Each parent had had similar experiences, which made them feel a mix of emotions–embarrassed, ashamed, left out.  One mom finally blurted, “Those stupid happy families, I hate them!”

Do you have a funny story or quote to share about your child?  Please add it in the comments section–you’ll lift another parent’s day.

–Margaret

8 Replies to “Finding humor in your crazy child”

  1. Both my children have there own problems. I deal with them the best I can. I am a single mother of two pre-teens. Both were molested by there father when they were 2 until age 5. The police wouldn’t help, the court wouldn’t believe me, my lawyer didn’t believe me he just wanted my money. They kept saying I had no proof. I didn’t have any proof because none of many doctors I took my children to would not put the damages and infections as possible molestation. No one would own up to the fact that my children were being abused by there father.
    I do not think it is funny to laugh at your children when they are truely unhappy and hurting from, ADHD, BIPOLAR DISORDER OR ANY OTHER (PROBLEMS THEY MAY HAVE). It make you child feel unimportant and not valide to you. My daughter always tells me when I say something that is hurtful, because I am working on building a strong relationship with both my son and daughter. I think we should all be sencetive to our children’s amotions, let them know when we or they make a mistake, let them come to you as a safe person to confide in, make them feel like the most important people in your life, make sure they know they are loved, let them know you would protect them from anyone or anything with your life if need be. Make sure your children ill or not know they are special to you.
    Don’t laugh at your child’s behavior. That belittle’s a child. Laughing at them says you think there problems are a joke to and not important, to them they are life altering event, memories, etc.

    1. Ms. Pamela, U among many people have been in your shoes. This site in no way came off to me to be one where it is even suggesting you laugh at your kids pain. Hun, there can be found humor in anything if you still have love in your heart. Not in the midst of the pain, but in those times between when your child made you laugh or smile or you both laughed together and just for a brief second in time forgot and in those brief seconds with you all…….it did not hurt.
      If you want to talk, please let me know and we can exchange emails some how, trust me darling, I more than understand.
      Both mother, and victim….but no victim anymore, you can teach them strength and to be victims no more. You take care of yourself and those precious ones.

  2. Hi I wanted to ask my son has various difficulties and just lately been working with health professionals at home on the last occasion he corrected myself on words I had used it was difficulties Sam has he then pulled me up and said obstacles I felt quite enbarressed and spoken to like a child both in front of my son and a new coleague who was first being introduced I thought it was inappropriate as they were in my house and in front of my son any help with this matter would be grand thks miz

    1. Hi Miz. Many parents have told me stories like yours, and like you, were upset that a health care provider would undermine them in front of their child. What happened to you was extremely unprofessional and inappropriate! No one should ever embarrass a parent or child, or any other family member, for any reason. They are there to partner with you to improve your family’s situation. If it’s possible, you may wish to report this person’s behavior, or to ask for another individual. Parents and families should never be judged, criticized, or belittled by the very people who are there to help them.

  3. I would like to thank you for this article. For me, it was right on point. Many times my 18yr. old will be in the middle of me reproofing him and then out of the blue he will say the craziest thing and have me laughing hysterically. At that moment the stress level decreases significantly. I have often had to go to a funny place mentally to better deal with stressful situations. This articles helps me to really stick with this method even more so hurtful things don’t come out of my mouth. My child has great potential in many areas but do to his adhd and ed these aren’t always realized to him. I am also taking your suggestions about replacing his computer time with other projects. I am very eager to find a way to purchase a self building robot for him. This I believe with help him see some of the many talents that he does posses. Thank you very much for this helpful information.

    Tonya

  4. Hi. I just wanted to say thank you for what you said and applaud your efforts in helping other parents your reply did mean a lot to me. Once again thanks.

  5. To whom it may concern,
    I’m sorry but I did not think this was funny at all. I came upon your site because of an article about therapy animals and decided to peruse. I was an at risk teen (who got sent to treatment thank God) who acted out seriously. Tried to kill my self eight times, severe self harm issues, alcohol use, severe anorexia, I stole, I was a a run away you name it. And it’s not funny, it was hell. I didn’t do that stuff because there is something wrong with my brain chemistry, actually my psychologist says my brain neurologically is pristine. I did that because my father was sexually abusing me for my entire life and my mom didn’t save me. The state found out and I got tossed between hospitals and homeless shelters and foster homes We were a seemingly high functioning middle class family. And the kids I met all along the way had stories like mine. I was hurt really bad and responded to my environment the only way I knew how and the parents certainly are not always innocent and should really take a good look in the mirror before they laugh at behaviors – I don’t believe ma’am that you can profess with confidence that you wouldn’t have done the same in my position. I came to the site trying to find further insight into my past and was very disappointed. I’m sure that your site is a great resource for many and I am not trying to invalidate the situation many parents are put in because no, chemical mental illness is not your fault but please think twice about who will read this before you post articles such as these.
    Thank you for your time.

    1. Hello Annie,

      Thank you for writing and being so open about your experience, and for speaking so honestly and clearly about how this article affected you. First, I must honor your efforts to find your own mental health after your horrible experiences. Second, I will take your comments seriously. What I will do is add a caveat or precaution to this post, a statement that reminds readers that humor can hurt if the child is a victim, or ‘funny’ words are abusive if they intentionally or unintentionally belittle a child at the child’s expense.

      You are correct, not every young person who acts out has a mental illness, but is likely responding to abuse and trauma. It is also true, not all parents care about their child’s well being, and some are (criminally) responsible for their trauma. These parents offend me deeply, and I know they offend all the other parents who are trying the best they can to help their child.

      I was motivated to write this article because I’ve seen too many parents beat themselves up with guilt and feelings of failure. Their own stress and darkness falls over the whole family. It happened to me, and I found it helpful, though perhaps childish, to find humor in my situation.

      Thank you again for your very eloquent comment. I have plenty to learn about writing helpful thoughts regarding mental health problems and supporting those who suffer with them.

      Margaret

Your views help other readers.

Parent to Parent Guidance

Parent to Parent Guidance

Margaret Puckette is a Certified Parent Support Provider, and helps parents with tailored advice for raising their troubled child, teen, or young adult. She is a parent who understands that parents and families need realistic practical guidance for maintaining their lives without stress. Margaret has coached and mentored families for over 20 years. She is an author & speaker, and believes parent & family support is essential. Mentally healthy parents with the right skills raise mentally healthy children.

You Can Handle This.

You Can Handle This.

You are not alone. Your situation is no one's fault. Behavior disorders are disabilities!
Troubled children need a very different parenting approach than 'normal' kids.

Care for yourself first, then set new goals:
1. Physical and emotional safety for all
2. Acceptance of the way things are
3. Family balance, meet the needs of all
4. One step at a time, one day at a time

Practical Guide for Parents

Practical Guide for Parents

A guide with practical steps for reducing stress at home and successfully raising a troubled child. You use the same proven techniques as mental health and other professionals. It starts by taking care of your wellbeing first, then taking an entirely different approach to parenting.
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