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Cultural ?-Are you familiar with this type of humor?


HS Mom in NC
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I'm wondering if the confusion in this situation is sub-cultural in nature. It never occurred to me, until this situation, that not everyone is in on this kind of thing. Now I'm wondering how widespread it is or isn't.

Last Christmas season, when the Children's Church was done and waiting for the regular service to finish, some of the kids were coloring and chatting.  My youngest excitedly said she wanted to color the flamingo page because, "My grandmother hates pink flamingos so I want to color it for her.  She thinks they're ugly and tacky so my [extended] family collects pink flamingo stuff and leaves it at her house."  The teacher thought it was funny and asked more about it and youngest explained, " We get her an ugly pink flamingo Christmas tree ornament and leave it on her tree every year when she's not looking. [My cousin]'s mom made her a pink flamingo table runner and my uncle put pink flamingo lawn ornaments in her yard in the middle of the night once. Then my other uncle attached one to her gate." The teacher thought it was hilarious.

 

One family's kids (6 of them, ages 3-12) were horrified at the thought that someone would be "so mean" to her grandma. When the teacher tried to explain affectionate, teasing humor they couldn't seem to process it at all.  It was completely alien to them. They seemed genuinely disturbed that some poor old lady was being picked on.

One year we missed sneaking a pink flamingo ornament on her tree and she jokingly voiced her disappointment. She still has the table runner and puts it out on the table during the summer. (She has a wide variety that are seasonally themed.) We've given her pink flamingo earrings, a t-shirt, lights, and the like over the years.  She uses them sometimes and jokingly talks about how awful they are and laughs when she gets them. When the kids give her one she really plays it up in a funny way that that she thinks it's soooo tacky and awful so the kids have a good time keeping an eye out for the next flamingo thing to give her.

Are you familiar with this kind of humor?
If you're familiar with this kind of humor, do you think it's positive, neutral or negative?
Do you participate in this kind of humor?

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Definitely familiar with it and participate! I think if everyone is in on the joke it is positive, fun loving humor. If the recipient is not enjoying the joking to the same degree then it needs to stop. I think being aware of how much is too much is vital. But if all are laughing legitimately then it is great fun!

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That's too funny! I think it's fine, as long as the person the joke is aimed at thinks it is amusing as well.
If they disliked the joke, than it would no longer be funny or kind.
I love that she plays it up with the kids. Sounds like a great inside joke.

:)

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Edited by Jacbeaumont
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I'd be more concerned about that other family's clinical state than yours.  Clearly your behavior is welcomed, understood, and socially typical.  That other family either has a really literal sense of things (ie. needs some help) or they've been taught really strictly.  I've been with people who say you shouldn't tease, shouldn't this and that.  They make it sort of a moral thing.  That could have happened.  It's definitely pretty extreme not even to *understand* that it's socially acceptable, even when it's not what you personally choose to do.

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That's funny. What's not funny is if someone hates spiders (perhaps more like afraid of) and people 'joke' by planting large fake ones for the person to find. Or telling them they have a spider in their hair or something.    

But yeah, the flamingo thing would be kind of funny. Though I do admit, I would feel a little uncomfortable with people making something or spending money on things I wasn't going to use. But that's probably a quirk because I'm frugal and kind of a minimalist. 

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Are you familiar with this kind of humor?

If you're familiar with this kind of humor, do you think it's positive, neutral or negative?

Do you participate in this kind of humor?

 

yes.

 

depends  - situation you describe sounds positive

 

no

 

eta: I would assume if this really upset her, they would stop.  that this is more like teasing/ family joke. 

 

there was a tree off highway 101 on the north coast of the Olympic peninsula that had a flock of pink flamingos.  I *loved* that tree.  made me smile every time we drove past.

Edited by gardenmom5
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Yes, I understand it, and it sounds like the kind of thing my family would do!

 

However, I'm also aware that there are some people who would not appreciate having this done to them.

 

We had a controversy in our family history.  My sister and her MIL don't really get along.  If the stories I hear are true, MIL has said some really horrible things to my sister, called her filthy names, implied nasty things in front of other people.  One year on my sister's birthday, before they were married, future MIL planted numerous "pig" lawn decorations all around the yard where my sister lived.  My sister was offended.  Her then-fiance didn't understand what was offensive about it.  (FTR my sister is not one of those people who thinks pigs are cute or collectible).  He said his mom thought she'd find it "cute."  :p  Hmmm.

 

So maybe these kids at church had seen some situations like my sister's, or maybe they are just really black and white and don't get the cultural reference of a pink flamingo, or don't realize these are very temporary pranks.

 

I think my kids would get the humor, but they would not get why anyone would have even thought of putting a pink flamingo in a yard.  :p

Edited by SKL
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My family is familiar with this type of humor. We also use sarcasm and sometimes what others may see as a darker humor in the way we are with each other. I think that if something is ever hurtful then it can not become playful, but if a subject was never used as a hurtful gesture then it is safe territory. For instance, I have never had cause to be teased, or made insecure about my intelligence, therefore when dh says "oh, poor dumb wife" it is a term of endearment and not demeaning in any way. (There is a long story behind it.) However, I have been sensitive about my weight, so if anyone tried to jokingly say "oh, poor fat wife" I would be hurt, self conscious etc. I would not accept that they were 100% joking. It would fill like a dig. We knew a young woman who was appalled when my dh said poor dumb wife. She did not believe that such a thing could be funny even though I shared the story with her.  

 

 

 

ETA: I have never added lawn decorations to someone's yard, but dh repositions my mother's reindeer every Christmas to facilitate in the birth of new deer  :blush: and waits to see how long before she notices  :lol: . He does it randomly and she usually cusses him out (while laughing) and then makes him fix them. Last year he had go out at 11 at night to make them G rated again. (We live next door) I told him serves him right.

Edited by jewellsmommy
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Speaking of different families / different humor, my kid was chastised at scouts yesterday for what the other parent felt was a disrespectful comment toward me.  I don't remember exactly what it was, something about how I might be a little crazy?, but said with a smile in a loving tone.  Whoops!  Not everyone can relate to our brand of humor.

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I'm wondering if the confusion in this situation is sub-cultural in nature. It never occurred to me, until this situation, that not everyone is in on this kind of thing. Now I'm wondering how widespread it is or isn't.

 

Last Christmas season, when the Children's Church was done and waiting for the regular service to finish, some of the kids were coloring and chatting.  My youngest excitedly said she wanted to color the flamingo page because, "My grandmother hates pink flamingos so I want to color it for her.  She thinks they're ugly and tacky so my [extended] family collects pink flamingo stuff and leaves it at her house."  The teacher thought it was funny and asked more about it and youngest explained, " We get her an ugly pink flamingo Christmas tree ornament and leave it on her tree every year when she's not looking. [My cousin]'s mom made her a pink flamingo table runner and my uncle put pink flamingo lawn ornaments in her yard in the middle of the night once. Then my other uncle attached one to her gate." The teacher thought it was hilarious.

 

One family's kids (6 of them, ages 3-12) were horrified at the thought that someone would be "so mean" to her grandma. When the teacher tried to explain affectionate, teasing humor they couldn't seem to process it at all.  It was completely alien to them. They seemed genuinely disturbed that some poor old lady was being picked on.

 

One year we missed sneaking a pink flamingo ornament on her tree and she jokingly voiced her disappointment. She still has the table runner and puts it out on the table during the summer. (She has a wide variety that are seasonally themed.) We've given her pink flamingo earrings, a t-shirt, lights, and the like over the years.  She uses them sometimes and jokingly talks about how awful they are and laughs when she gets them. When the kids give her one she really plays it up in a funny way that that she thinks it's soooo tacky and awful so the kids have a good time keeping an eye out for the next flamingo thing to give her.

 

Are you familiar with this kind of humor?

If you're familiar with this kind of humor, do you think it's positive, neutral or negative?

Do you participate in this kind of humor?

 

 

Oh, heck, yeah!! I would *totally* be on board with something like that! How awesome that your family does it!

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Pink flamingoes have become an inside family joke and tradition. They make the recipient laugh. It doesn't poke fun AT her. She's involved in the fun.

 

Some people really don't get humor or jokes. I worked with a woman who lacked a funny bone, and it was so painful. There's no point trying to explain your joke to the other family. Don't worry about your tradition though. :)

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Oh yes, this is my in-laws type of humour. My sil hates those giant light-up candle outdoor Christmas ornaments, so every year one of her siblings will sneak one onto her front lawn just for a laugh. I can definitely see the humour in it, and they enjoy it. I don't participate, though.

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Are you familiar with this kind of humor?

If you're familiar with this kind of humor, do you think it's positive, neutral or negative?

Do you participate in this kind of humor?

 

Yes.

 

I think it's positive when everyone involved "gets it" and is on board with it. I'm sure that for some people/families it could be either neutral or negative. So much depends on personalities.

 

Yes.

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Of course. Its just teasing.

 

Some ppl, for perfectly valid reasons, are extremely sensitive to teasing.

 

Im not. My family is not. Flamingo away!

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That's funny. What's not funny is if someone hates spiders (perhaps more like afraid of) and people 'joke' by planting large fake ones for the person to find. Or telling them they have a spider in their hair or something.

But yeah, the flamingo thing would be kind of funny. Though I do admit, I would feel a little uncomfortable with people making something or spending money on things I wasn't going to use. But that's probably a quirk because I'm frugal and kind of a minimalist.

You are the person I would, in an effort at this sort of humor, give a homemade card on recycled paper declaring that I was going to spend $50 on a really funny customized singing card the size of a door, then remembered you were minimalist and frugal, and made the homemade card for you instead.

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I am familiar with that type of humor, and it sounds like something my Dad's family would enjoy.  It is not my thing and I would not personally appreciate it if it were done to me.  For it is be funny and enjoyable everyone needs to be in on it and enjoying it.  I have family that just don't know when to stop.

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An inside joke is fine around here. I think the important thing is being close enough to the person to know if it is something they can be in on or if they are starting to get annoyed.

 

Like a previous poster I simple can't bring myself to spend much on gifts that are jokes. If it weren't for the wastefulness my step-dad who is a Broncos fan would have received a Seahawks shirt when they played the superbowl against each other because we are Seahawks fans. They would have just laughed.

 

It is bad when people make fun of a real terror or sensitive issue. I joke about my own big nose and my husband jokes about his weight but we don't joke about the other person in that way just ourselves.

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We love this type of humor. One Christmas asked for a digital camera. I the digital camera box to my excitement and then when I opened the box to fiddle with the camera my brother had put a rock with the word disappointment on it! It was hilarious. He actually got me a modded Xbox and my mom got me the camera. Now the disappointment rock makes an appearance in someone's gift most years.

 

My sil's bday is on Flag Day. Her dh, then boyfriend, got her a flag on her bday. She was not amused. So she is the type of person who doesn't understand that type of humor

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I'm a minimalist and don't put much money into goofy gifts (*cough* or any gifts *cough*), but I love inside jokes, within reason.

 

We play all sorts of pranks at Christmas. My mom has this plastic 3' tall nutcracker soldier Christmas decoration that's missing the light that goes inside it. She won't get rid of it even though it's broken, so my brother and I move it around to weird places (in the shower, under the covers, on the toilet).

 

We're all Cards fans, but we used to put a Cubs ornament on the front of her tree until DH was throwing something around and accidentally broke it. Everything that says "Noel" gets changed to "Leon". My brother comes up with math equations to put on the chalk "days until Christmas" sign. And we always hide the Christmas Eve dessert.

 

I have told people (adults) this stuff and they just stared at me blankly, not understanding why we would do anything like that. I don't really have much in common with them, honestly. In fact, I quit a job partially because I had a boss like that. A rock had a better sense of humor than her.

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We would do that in our family. For example, my dad asked for something from KSU, meaning Kansas State, because my sister lives in the Little Apple. I live near Kennesaw State and sometimes teach there. So I got him something from Kennesaw State, and my sister got him the Kansas State thing. And then my older sister picked up something from Kent State. It was pretty funny.

 

ETA... The item was a bucket hat. My dad wears them when he golfs. In the last tournament he played in, he and his teammates/friends all wore the different KSU bucket hats and had magnets from the schools on their golf carts. So, they do all get used.

Edited by Caroline
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I get it and would do that. I hate spiders. Do you know how many plastic spiders my dad put in stuff over the years? I thought it was hilarious.

 

I feel like if all parties are happy to play along, then go for it. However, I would stop if it appeared to be bothering the recipient. 

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I am familiar and your example sounds like a lot of fun for all involved so if it ain't broke...

 

I can appreciate this kind of thing personally, but only in small quantities. It isn't because I lack a sense of humor. I have experience with people being unkind and excusing it as this kind of joke. I also am very naturally frugal/practical so it's hard for me to appreciate in large amounts.

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My b-in-l's family did (does?) this type of thing. There are gifts that get re-gifted among the family.... over and over. There is a can of oysters (or squid or something) that was passed around for years and years.... if it was given to you, the thing was to give it to someone else when they didn't expect it... usually wrapped as something else. Sometimes someone would hold on to it for months. There were other things too. I know some comment was made about a nose-warmer at some point, so my sister knit up a few and those make the rounds too.

 

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Yes, familiar with it and understand it.  If Grandma "hates it' as much as she seems to, and always seems to get a genuine laugh from a silly joke with her grandkids, then no harm.  I do personally tend to keep an eye on such things to make sure everyone is laughing with the recipient and not at.  Sometimes these sort of jokes play themselves out and the person is actually annoyed. Of course, then it is the time to stop.

 

But they aren't being mean to their grandma. She is clearly getting a giggle from it. And it sounds like something they will always remember fondly.  I bet she secretly loves the flamingo stuff from her grandkids, right?

 

 

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It seems like grandma actually likes them a tiny bit. I mean she is willing to display the stuff. Maybe the kids thought she actually hated flamingos with a burning passion. I hate knickknacks or little figures. If the joke was get Reign lots of precious moments figures it might be funny but those things would be in the garbage after opening! Not kept and used. I'd think the ornament thing was hilarious but I wouldn't want to actually see after finding it or store it. So maybe it depends on the level of hate.

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My dad side would consider that disrespectful and my paternal grandparents are the very serious kind so a joke would have no effect.

 

My mom side would consider that disrespectful as well but as long as maternal grandparents are okay with it, than its okay. My maternal grandparents are less serious and would crack jokes themselves.

 

My in-laws would consider it disrespectful but would not tell a grandkid off, instead they would tell the parent (their child) off.

 

My dad doesn't get jokes or sarcasm but don't mind as long as there is no malicious intent. My mom is a prankster and don't mind being prank.

 

So for us, we have to see who we want to prank and decide if the person is going to be amused or insulted, and then act accordingly.

 

I don't like pink and my kids thinks it is silly to get me pink stuff just for kicks. They will think of other pranks to play on hubby and me.

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I'm familiar with that sort of humor, and I think it can be fun and funny - so long as everybody is laughing. If the target isn't laughing with you, then it's mean and you need to apologize and not do it again. And if you're not sure the joke will be appreciated, better not to do it.

 

I think it's also better if you (that is, all of you) play these sort of pranks equally on everybody in the group, so it's not like one person is being singled out. (Unless one person really hates that sort of thing, of course.)

 

However, in contrast to a poster up above, I don't think it's worrisome or concerning if a young child who comes from a family where they don't do this sort of thing doesn't understand how it's all in good fun. Why would they? This is something you learn from context, and where would they have gotten the context for this?

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Kids can be very black-and-white, and I guess that family are all that way!

 

One of my sisters was born on July 14th. Every year, I call and wish her "Happy Bastille Day!!" She LOVES that. :glare: :lol:

For years my brother called me to wish me a happy German reunification day and I wish him a happy pi day on his b'day.
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I'd be more concerned about that other family's clinical state than yours.  Clearly your behavior is welcomed, understood, and socially typical.  That other family either has a really literal sense of things (ie. needs some help) or they've been taught really strictly.  I've been with people who say you shouldn't tease, shouldn't this and that.  They make it sort of a moral thing.  That could have happened.  It's definitely pretty extreme not even to *understand* that it's socially acceptable, even when it's not what you personally choose to do.

 

Eh, I think your post is a little extreme, lol. 

 

They're kids. That apparently don't come from a teasing family. I don't think that kids being really surprised about coloring a picture of something grandma hates needs to be interpreted as a disorder or a sign of a super strict upbringing. 

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Eh, I think your post is a little extreme, lol.

 

They're kids. That apparently don't come from a teasing family. I don't think that kids being really surprised about coloring a picture of something grandma hates needs to be interpreted as a disorder or a sign of a super strict upbringing.

Six kids, ages 3-12, couldn't grasp the concept. It's odd. It is. At the very least, they're humor-impaired. At worst they're getting some sort of stepford-kid conditioning.

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Six kids, ages 3-12, couldn't grasp the concept. It's odd. It is. At the very least, they're humor-impaired. At worst they're getting some sort of stepford-kid conditioning.

 

No, not really. Their family just has a different way of doing things, and there's no evidence that their way is any better or worse than yours, nor that their sense of humor is actually lacking.

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Yes, familiar.

 

Yes it's fine, as long as the recipient is in on the fun and not being made fun of.

 

Our family is big on joking, pranking, and teasing - all in the name of fun. My Dad's family is the same way. My Dad's Mom's family was the same. I imagine they also learned it from somewhere, so it's probably a long line of pranksters from which I descend. :)

 

ETA: I hate snakes, so when we were dating my DH sent me a rattlesnake postcard. I still married him.

 

He hates spiders. Last fall I snapped a picture of a spider where I was and texted him - just to show him the size of it, not as a joke. A very funny and unintended consequence was that he happened to be holding his phone with my text thread open to text me at the same time so the photo popped up on his screen. He thought a spider dropped onto his phone so he screamed like a girl and threw the phone.

 

I only wish I could've been there to see the reaction. His telling me about it had me crying from laughter. It still makes me giggle.

Edited by fraidycat
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My family used to get me all kinds of things I needed in pink because they knew I didn't care for it but my frugality wouldn't let me throw it out. It was funny -- until an ex got in on it and then after the breakup everything pink reminded me of him.

 

But my family immediately stopped doing it after that.

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I get it in the sense you mention it.  My dad has really, truly, horrible gas.  It's kind of an inside family joke.  One Christmas after Beano made it's debut -- I stuck it in his Christmas stocking.  It was pretty hilarious.  Every once in awhile, some sort of gas-related "gift" finds its way into his stocking.  Nothing truly crude -- usually, it's something meant to "help" alleviate the issue :p

 

 

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I have both types in my own family.   My father would think it was funny.  My mother would be horrified and think it is mean.  

 

So, there ya go.  

 

My take is that if the recipient of the humor finds it funny, or affectionate, then it is absolutely great.  If the recipient hates it, then stop.

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As an adult, I understand the humor, but I myself would not appreciate it. I'm a very literal person, so if I say I hate something, I would be super annoyed finding 40 of them on my lawn.

 

I'm also not a fan of practical jokes or April Fools Day, but many people are. As long as everyone enjoys it, it's okay.

 

I would not be surprised to find that children who were not a part of that sort of humor "from the beginning" might not understand it.

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I am familiar and mainly neutral towards it when it comes to others, strongly negative when it comes towards me and my family, and would not participate unless directly told by the intended person that they thought it was funny.  

 

I don't get it, but I can see others enjoy it - but doing to me or my partner or even worse my kids just... really brings out a lot of strong negative emotions. I've seen far too many people try to defend meanness or mocking behind 'I'm just teasing' or 'you/they just need a sense of humour' as if that erases everything and any pain caused is the victim's fault. It's left a very a bad taste in my mouth about it and I avoid doing it and defend my kids and my partner from it, but for others I tend to leave it up to them whether it is fun or not. 

 

We actually had a lot of stress for a few years over this with my in-laws, particularly my father-in-law. He thinks teasing is great, particularly for teaching kids to do or not to do something. We had a few years of conflict over this especially when he teased my small kid over things that were my and my partner's decisions that father-in-law disagreed with. It was very frustrating...still is sometimes. My 11 year old has spent the last fortnight with them, who have both vocally been against him [and his father] having long hair and father-in-law has teased him on his hair. I found out yesterday that my 11 year old seems to have snapped on this and shaved half his head because 'it's cool and I don't care what people think of what I look like' [to which father-in-law just bellowed 'well we do' that I heard on the phone over my son who later, when I asked if his grandfather had teased him about his long hair again, just sniffled that he was used to it in the most heartbreaking voice]. 

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I get it, but, I can totally see how a 6 year old wouldn't!

 

For me teasing  / mocking humor is uncomfortable.  My reaction is pretty much "Oh.  I see.  Humor."    But that's after years of seeing jokes of this sort in TV and movies. I'm sure my daughter wouldn't get it at all.  She is sensitive and hates the idea of bullying. Very strong cringe reflex.  My younger son might get the humor.

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I am familiar and mainly neutral towards it when it comes to others, strongly negative when it comes towards me and my family, and would not participate unless directly told by the intended person that they thought it was funny.  

 

I don't get it, but I can see others enjoy it - but doing to me or my partner or even worse my kids just... really brings out a lot of strong negative emotions. I've seen far too many people try to defend meanness or mocking behind 'I'm just teasing' or 'you/they just need a sense of humour' as if that erases everything and any pain caused is the victim's fault. It's left a very a bad taste in my mouth about it and I avoid doing it and defend my kids and my partner from it, but for others I tend to leave it up to them whether it is fun or not. 

 

We actually had a lot of stress for a few years over this with my in-laws, particularly my father-in-law. He thinks teasing is great, particularly for teaching kids to do or not to do something. We had a few years of conflict over this especially when he teased my small kid over things that were my and my partner's decisions that father-in-law disagreed with. It was very frustrating...still is sometimes. My 11 year old has spent the last fortnight with them, who have both vocally been against him [and his father] having long hair and father-in-law has teased him on his hair. I found out yesterday that my 11 year old seems to have snapped on this and shaved half his head because 'it's cool and I don't care what people think of what I look like' [to which father-in-law just bellowed 'well we do' that I heard on the phone over my son who later, when I asked if his grandfather had teased him about his long hair again, just sniffled that he was used to it in the most heartbreaking voice]. 

 

Aw.  That wasn't kind of them.  I'm so sorry. 

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I don't think there's anything wrong with this kind of teasing as long as everyone--especially the recipient--finds it funny and it's obviously done without the intent to hurt. The OP's grandma sounds like a great sport. But even something done in fun can get tiresome if it goes on too long. I'm assuming the OP and her family try to make sure they're aware of when enough has become enough. In the meantime, if everyone is having fun, so what? Different families do things in different ways.

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