Elf On The Shelf – Good Clean Fun Or A Clever Lie
Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through our house, everyone was stirring, especially my son Evan who asked me why we don't have an Elf on The Shelf. I asked him why and he just shrugged his shoulders and ran off, but there is a reason we don't. I realize Elf on the Shelf is very popular and has been a tradition for many families for years, but I'm concerned about the message the concept sends to children and I'm not alone because many parents groups ask the same question.
You might be asking what the Elf on the Shelf is and the explanation might not be as simple is it might seem. The Elf on the Shelf is a small elf doll that you purchase and every night before going to bed, you move the elf to a different location in the house where it's visible to the kids. You tell the kids that the elf is watching them and if they are not good, the elf will tell Santa and every child will know exactly what that means...therein, lies the problem.
The biggest concern for some parents is the notion that being good will mean gifts, toys and rewards for the children, which kinda clouds the whole idea of why they need to be good, responsible and respectful. Being good means they get stuff!
The other concern is the fact that the kids will think the elf is alive which, when you think about it, is kinda creepy because the kids never know where the elf will turn up next and it could be a little scary for some kids.
Some kids might even get a little irritated by the idea the elf is nothing more than a snitch and may try to get them in trouble, which creates an entirely different problem. A little girl in my former neighborhood felt that way and threw the elf into the fireplace, which was lit...yikes!!
Bottom line, are we lying to our kids and is that OK? You may be perfectly fine with the Elf on the Shelf, a lot of people are and that's fine, but some parents aren't so sure it's a good idea and then what happens to all of that once you are forced to have 'the talk' with your child...you know which 'talk'....the Christmas 'talk'.
Personally, I think it's kinda creepy. I tried it once with my daughter when she was little and she became afraid to go to sleep because the elf was watching her...yeah, that was a fun time. Needless to say, she didn't want the elf living with us so, she wanted him to move to Caitlin's house because she said Caitlin was mean thought this might make her nicer....it didn't.
I'm not trying to rain on anybody's tradition, I'm just asking a question. What do you think?