According to new research, it may be beneficial for fathers to be a kid again, at least for a little bit.
For some fathers, wrestling and playing video games with their kids can lead to some light teasing on both sides, especially if you are losing. While it may not seem like it, recent studies have found that this practice of teasing can be a helpful parenting skill in improving a child’s social development.
New research from the National Communication Association found teasing can be a positive experience in child development because it teaches them "how to show affection and deal with conflict."
"Research shows us that even very young children can recognize that teasing is not always bad; that sometimes it can be a fun way to play with friends and family," said Carol Bishop Mills, one of the authors of the study.
This may include a light-hearted "I don’t think you’re gonna make it!" during a video game or a good-humored "You think you can take down the old man? Have at it!" before some playful wrestling.
The key, according to the researchers, is to make sure everyone is laughing and having a good time. They suggest fathers use their parenting skills to identify if the teasing crosses over to bullying.
If some slight aggression does emerge from the teasing, fathers can use the opportunity to teach their child about the difference between teasing and bullying, which may help the child in a school environment.
This somewhat loose approach toward parenting can benefit a child’s social, physical and intellectual development, according to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a professor of child psychiatry at Yale and author of Fatherneed.
By engaging children in this nontraditional manner, fathers may also develop strong bonds with their kids that may not have been formed another way.