Is tickling a baby bad? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Every once in a while when I give ds some tickles, my MIL says "I always heard that you arent supposed to tickle babies."

I finally asked her why or where she heard this, but she doesnt have an answer for either questions. Anyone heard this before or know anything about it?

I dont violently tickle him. It is like "Oh, I tickle your belly" when we are playing, but lightly and I really watch his signs, only do it a few times, only do it when he is in the right mood, etc. He laughs and then we do something else. She acts like I cant do it at all.
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#2 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:28 PM
 
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I think it's just because babies are so helpless--they can't actually tell you if they are having fun. My kids are toddlers, so they can say "stop" or "no" and I'll stop, even if they are giggling wildly and SEEM like they are having a great time. Have you ever had someone tickle you past the point where it was fun, when it actually became horrible for you? I'm sure nobody wants to do that to a baby. A neighbor of mine actually grabbed my son (about a year old at the time) at a party and was tickling him, being totally nice, trying to play with him. He was laughing and laughing (he's VERY ticklish) and it took me a moment to realize that he was really not liking what was going on. My neighbor wasn't stopping long enough to give him a chance to tell her no. I took him away, but my neighbor never even noticed she was hurting him.
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#3 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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Intense tickling is awful, so I would never do it a lot. I do tickle DD for short bits of time and she likes it and actually acts like she wants me to do it again (laughs in anticipation, waves her arms). But I would never do it a lot to a baby, or anyone for that matter.
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#4 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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I think if you do it for long period of times it would be bad. I'l tickle dd a little if it makes her laugh, but I don't do it for long.

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#5 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LaLaLaLa View Post
I think it's just because babies are so helpless--they can't actually tell you if they are having fun.
DS has been able to tell us from a very early age if he doesn't like it by pushing our hands away or making an unhappy noise. I think lots of people insist on tickling children to the unplesant point beyond the fun part.
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#6 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:45 PM
 
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The rational I've read (from "The Baby Whisperer" and similar places) is that you should always treat a baby respectfully, like a person with her own feelings and preferences. Let them know what you're about to do (pick them up, change them, etc) before you do it, talk respectfully to them, don't tickle them, etc.

I absolutely agree it's good to remember that the baby is a person, not a toy. But my LO get tickled frequently. I don't think it's bad. Most babies revel in affectionate attention, and that's what a little tickling is. If she's not enjoying it, obviously you need to stop.
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#7 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I dont violently tickle him. It is like "Oh, I tickle your belly" when we are playing, but lightly and I really watch his signs, only do it a few times, only do it when he is in the right mood, etc. He laughs and then we do something else. She acts like I cant do it at all.
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#8 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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sorry, double post
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#9 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by matey View Post
I dont violently tickle him. It is like "Oh, I tickle your belly" when we are playing, but lightly and I really watch his signs, only do it a few times, only do it when he is in the right mood, etc. He laughs and then we do something else. She acts like I cant do it at all.
I think that kind of tickling is fine, and probably really fun for your DS! It's when people tickle too long or past the point that the child is enjoying it that it becomes disrespectful.

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#10 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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I was very ticklish as a child and people thought it was funny. I hated to be tickled, but of course they couldn't tell and just kept going and going. It was awful.

I think tickling is fine and fun if you pay attention. I have always played tickle with my children by tickling for only a couple of seconds at a time, then let them catch their breath (or tell me to stop if they want), then tickle a few seconds more. Just as fun, but not uncomfortable for them!

FYI, there are documented cases of tickling being used as a form of torture, so definitely something that deserves more respect than most people give it!

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#11 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 06:18 PM
 
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I do tickle dd but give her big space in between to let her tell me if she's done and I don't tickle for too long. It goes something like an exagerated "I'm gonna tickle you" and start to wiggle my figers over her. She usually grins because she knows something fun is coming but if she were to ever give me a sign that she's not having fun anymore I of course would stop.
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#12 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 06:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
I was very ticklish as a child and people thought it was funny. I hated to be tickled, but of course they couldn't tell and just kept going and going. It was awful.
: When I was a kid my older siblings tormented me with tickling and I wound up resorting to punching them to get them off me. And my family thought it was funny. But then I'd be in trouble for hitting! I hated it and will not be tickling my kids beyond a slight stroke of their footsies or things like that. Being pinned down and tickled mercilessly by someone bigger than you is horrible. I still have a major problem with being held down and I think it stems from those awful experiences
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#13 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 10:33 PM
 
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I've been wondering this same thing recently because my ds SEEMS to love being tickled, but I wonder...does he really? Usually when we are nursing, he will pull off the breast, arch back (he's been doing that since he started teething, he does it a few times during each nursing session), and just lean backwards, upside down, totally relaxed . One day, after him doing this 5 or 6 times, I gave his tummy a little tickle to see if he would sit back up to finish nursing. Of course, when I tickled (lightly), I got a cute little giggle. So I did it again, lightly tickling my fingertips across his tummy, and up and down both legs. He adored it. It completely relaxes him. He just sort of hangs out, leans back, lets his head dangle, sometimes he closes his eyes, but usually just sort of spaces out, with an occasional giggle when I touch a sensitive spot. After about 3-4 minutes, he will pull himself back upright and latch back on. I thought it was amusing til I remembered that tickling is/can be a form of torture, but ds doesn't all seem to be unhappy. I think its adorable! I also have this secret theory that being lightly tickled now will help him to not be horrifically ticklish later on (when he might have siblings). I'm not at all ticklish. I wonder is ticklishness () hereditary?
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#14 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 10:56 PM
 
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I HATE being tickled, so I usually don't tickle either of my kids. However, I think its about reading your babe- you know if it is upsetting to them or not!
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#15 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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I tickle lightly and in short bursts, watching their expressions and body language. My 4 month old I would only tickle for a second (like, literally a "one hippopotamus" second) because he wouldn't be able to tell me to stop. He seems to delight in it. As they get older and can communicate more, verbally or other wise, it's easier to gauge. Two of my kids would sign MORE in between bursts of tickles, or take my hand and indicate that I should tickle again. I think that when done lightly, in short bursts, with care (as in carefulness) that it can be extremely fun for little ones! My 2 yo signs MORE while saying "mo!" when he gets tickles.

I think the strong negative reactions we might have about tickling come from not having been gently tickled as children. I was tickled pretty mercilessly, and it is VERY uncomfortable. Not good memories for me. But I don't think that that means all tickling is inherently disrespectful. If a child said Stop or No, or tried to move away, or pushed at your hands, or seemed even slightly distressed, you should stop immediately and check in to make sure the child is having a good time. For some kids that will be a lot sooner than others - I'm sure there are kids who HATE even tiny tickles. And those who can't get enough.

A parent whose feelings are hurt when the child has had enough probably shouldn't be tickling anyone until they get their own issues sorted out.

ETA That last comment wasn't for anyone here!! I was thinking of my dad, who would tickle until we had to YELL at him to stop, and then he would get mad at us. He was a great dad in a lot of ways, but not always the most enlightened person!

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#16 of 25 Old 06-02-2008, 11:13 PM
 
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My DH tickles our DS and he does the sweetest laughs then!

I think it depends on how you're being tickled.
Blowing raspberries and soft strokes can be wonderful. Its that "stick their fingers in your ribs" tickling that can be painful and tormenting.

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#17 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 01:02 AM
 
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I tickle DD while she is standing up. She can walk away but she always comes back. Also, I basically just touch her and go coochey coo or something. It is the game that makes her laugh not the actual tickeling.
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#18 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 03:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
My DH tickles our DS and he does the sweetest laughs then!

I think it depends on how you're being tickled.
Blowing raspberries and soft strokes can be wonderful. Its that "stick their fingers in your ribs" tickling that can be painful and tormenting.
Yeah my grizzly bear of a FIL has a ribcage seperating tickle and just doesn't understand that people don't find it pleasant.
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#19 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 03:29 AM
 
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I never liked being tickled, but reading this thread I'm realizing that my dad just didn't know how to tickle me: he'd hold me down and keep me there, and if I struggled he thought it was funny. If you do it right, then maybe tickling can be fun? This is, in all seriousness, a novel concept to me.

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#20 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 04:04 AM
 
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I LOATHE being tickled.

That said, DS seems to like it occasionally. I didn't do it when he was very small (say, less than 6 months) and I would not do it to any small baby.
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#21 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 04:32 AM
 
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I don’t tickle babies but I do blow raspberries on their tummies which makes them giggle

If you tickle to long or hard its awful.

Sam, mum to: Ian, James, Lottie, Maddy, Jack, Ruby, Bronte & Sophia and Nate
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#22 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 04:34 AM
 
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This thread is very weird to me. Of course it's OK to tickle a baby! I think what some of the PP's are describing is NOT tickling.

Being held down? Rib digging fingers? Having to punch, cry, or be rescued because the "tickler" is being to rough and won't stop? NOT tickling.

Blowing raspberries on a belly when changing a diaper? Light, wiggly fingers on a foot, chin or belly? Baby wiggling with excitement and anticipation and laughing? Tickling.

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#23 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 05:59 PM
 
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I think that tickling is a very natural behavior. It is a common "play" behavior seen in other primates (adults tickling youngsters). I see no reason not to tickle your babe as long as you respect "no" and "I've had enough" signals.
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#24 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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I don't like being tickled at all, but I remember being held down and tickled by cousins. I think tickling in very short 1 second bursts is ok, though. Like, tickling where the baby can easily pull a way and allowing baby to pull away is different to me than being held down and forcibly tickled. To me, that gives the child a chance to easily move back for relief, and not come back if he/she doesn't want to. (I do that to my kid, and he always ALWAYS comes back with squeals of delight and anticipation for more. His body language tells me he doesn't mind.) To me, holding kiddo down and not allowing him to get away is taking away his choice in the matter.

Meh. My monkey's skin is so soft we don't usually do tickling because belly kisses are much more fun. His skin is yummy.

After watching my husband's brother hold down a 3/4 yo friend of the family and tickling until the child was yelling "Ima pee on myself!!!!" made me realize to never have my kid around him unsupervised. He can't seem to play/enteract with kids without mercilessly tickling them.
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#25 of 25 Old 06-03-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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i tickle my daughter, it's one of the only ways i can get her to laugh! she smiles easily but only laughs if she finds something extremely funny (being tickled, or if i look at her out the corner of my eye and then turn slooowly to look at her, she thinks that is hiliarous).....if she doesn't feel like being tickled, she looks at me very sternly and often will just push my hands away from her.
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