For those of you not familiar with this festive sensation, Elf on the Shelf is basically a very creepy looking puppet doll that parents have started to use in the build up to Christmas, primarily as a discipline tool to make sure their children don’t misbehave, but also to have some cheap laughs with relatives at how gullible their young minds are, and like all pop up parents – use the doll to find new ways at mentally scaring their children for life.
The official website explains; Elf on the Shelf is a special scout elf sent from the North Pole to help Santa Claus manage his naughty and nice lists. When a family adopts a scout elf and gives it a name, the scout elf receives its Christmas magic and can fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa Claus about all of the day's adventures. Each morning, the scout elf returns to its family and perches in a different place to watch the fun. Children love to wake up and race around the house looking for their scout elf each morning. There are two simple rules that every child knows when it comes to having a scout elf. First, a scout elf cannot be touched; Christmas magic is very fragile and if a scout elf is touched it may lose that magic and be unable to fly back to the North Pole. Second, a scout elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake! A scout elf's job is to watch and listen.
Now I have one simple rule on how children should be raised, and that’s to treat them with the same respect you would treat an adult, to allow them to develop their own unique personality whilst building strong communication and interpersonal skills.
After all what would you think if your wife came home after work one day and put a voodoo doll on the table, turned to you and said;
‘from now on if you don’t get the bins out on time this dolls gonna f*ck you up’
That would be a pretty messed up situation, first of all you would think, have you just gone mental, why is there a witch doll on the table, and secondly you would think ‘honey we need to have a little talk’.
Now I’m not saying cancel Christmas, if you want to deceive your children that’s fine, I’m sure there’s no harm in filling your child with blatant lies which will eventually unravel resulting in latent feelings of mistrust as they develop into young adults.
The truth is the imagination of children brings Christmas to life; there is a well known secret that if there were no children there would be no Santa. I do believe that children need to be afforded every opportunity that makes them happy and it may be healthy to encourage the possibilities their developing minds are capable of, but I also believe we have a responsibility as adults to manage their expectations and to ensure we are not introducing wild misconceptions that may stunt their understanding of how the world works. As much as introducing the possibility of magic to your children might seem like a wonderful thing I believe placing your child under house arrest at the hands of some creepy elf results in your child living in the shadow of fear, constantly concerned about what the elf knows, maybe it can read their thoughts as well, constantly watched, constantly in fear of doing something bad, basically introducing your child to some dark Orwellian nightmare that no human being should be subject to.
If this kind of treatment was used in Guantanamo there would be outrage. Maybe do your child a favour and keep that creepy elf off of the shelf, or at least think a little bit about how they think and feel before you decide to abuse their open minds for your own amusement.