Is it true that in colonial and other parts of history that tickling was used for torture? Is tickling ok?
Just to add a little more what I was thinking. Near the end of my first paragraph, I was trying to say that some of the people in my family were saying that if someone likes to tickle like that, it's not so much about tickling as it is about controlling them, since you are at the mercy of them.
I remember my step uncle starting out asking where I was ticklish. And would you agree that if someone asks that generally your going to be tickled. If you say yes they'll tickle and if you say no they will do it anyway. I remember him holding me and tickling my sides/ribs and even my feet. I would try to protest and shout "no, stop" but since I was laughing he thought I was having the time of my life.
That is the similar situation that happened over the holidays, one of my younger cousins was being tickled.
And what I said before, I thought I heard how the Chinese used tickling as torture as did colonial Americans.
Just a clarification, thank you Jessica.
Thanks for your question and your thoughts and concerns about this situation. Your instincts are on track. There is a lot of research and conversation out today about just what you are intuiting; that tickling can be a very uncomfortable situation for little children, and yet, because of the laughter, there can be confusion for both parties as to whether it is "fun."
In the final analysis, some people feel it is best if there is no ticking, ever.
Others feel if the tickling is sweet and light, and the tickler will clearly stop if there is any indication that is wanted, then it can be okay.
Others advise always having a clear "stop" sign as a safety word, either a single word or a physical sign, like tapping the knee or something similar.
If the ticker doesn't stop, tickles rough, tickles against the will of the child or tickles as an excuse to touch the young person, it is considered abuse.
The fact that you feel uncomfortable about it is enough to insist that it stop.
Abuse in all forms more often happens from within the family, extended family and community.
All the best,