Elf On The Shelf Could Be “Damaging” To Children, Experts Say

The Elf on the Shelf has been a popular Christmas tradition for several years now, but now experts are saying that it’s not healthy, and could be “damaging” to your children.

By DAVID on December 4, 2018
(Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Some experts are saying that the “Elf on the Shelf” character could be damaging to children. One expert says that the elf is “A misplaced power card for securing good behavior.” Basically that means that we’re using the elf to make our kids behave better. But, isn’t that the point of the elf? Nevermind Santa’s “naughty and nice” list, right?

Just to clarify, this isn’t US saying that the elf is damaging, this is just a story we’re reporting on. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I’ll continue. So, the basic premise of the elf is that he’s sent to the house by Santa himself. The elf’s job is to watch over the house, and report back to Santa about the children’s behavior. It’s supposed to entice good behavior leading up to the holidays, and it comes with a story. The kids can name it, and it will move around the house and find various hiding spots.

What the experts are saying though is basically that if you want your kids to behave, it’s your job. Not the job of the elf. This goes back to that “misplaced power card for securing good behaviour” phrase from earlier. It’s like one of those “just wait until your dad gets home” kind of things. “You better behave, Santa is watching,” which basically uses the threat of not receiving gifts as a punishment for misbehaving. But really, that’s what Christmas has been for as long as I can remember, and my mom says it was like that for her when she was growing up, too.

The experts say that instead, you can use the elf in a “sent by Santa to help count down to the big day” sort of role. I guess that could work, or you can come up with some other sort of game. Maybe the elf is here to learn about the family and make sure the kids get what they want? However you use the elf, I’m sure that a couple weeks a year will be just fine. See the original research over here.

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