From cheesy puns to one-liners, the best dad jokes are sure to make you laugh out loud. But why is it that these groan-inducing jokes are always associated with fathers and not moms? What is it about dad jokes that makes them so popular, and what can we learn from this unique cultural phenomenon?
While we may think of dad jokes as cringe comedy, they actually have a number of benefits for both children and adults. For example, as a form of playful teasing, dad jokes teach kids how to express and appreciate humor. They also help kids develop a sense of the absurd through noticing the incongruities between everyday events and social norms (e.g., ‘Why can’t a leopard play hide and seek? Because it’s spotted!’).
What’s more, dad jokes can serve as a safe space to learn how to cope with embarrassment. By telling embarrassing jokes, dads are able to model how to handle uncomfortable situations and build self-esteem by reassuring their children that the shame they feel is normal. This is especially important for image-conscious, sensitive adolescent children who are often the targets of embarrassing teasing.
So the next time you hear a dad joke, don’t roll your eyes or groan. Instead, laugh along with the rest of the audience and remember that even though these jokes may be corny, they are a unique way for fathers to connect with their children and lighten the mood.