Is ‘Elf On The Shelf’ bad for kids?

Elf on the Shelf
Harmless fun or bad parenting tool?

For most parents, “Elf On The Shelf,” serves as an extension of Santa, entertaining kids and a way to get them to behave until Christmas. But as tomorrow comes and parents pack up their Elf toys until next year, some people want to say goodbye for good.

Psychology Today writer David Kyle Johnson, Ph.D argues that “Elf On The Shelf” ruins parents’ trustworthiness and credibility. He thinks the same thing about Santa, too. “The fun you have tricking your children into believing something false is not a noble cause; don’t fool yourselves – you’re not saving lives.” Johnson goes on to say that some children doubt the existence of God after learning the truth about Santa.

Actor Brad Pitt shares Johnson’s view. “I’m not real big on the whole Santa thing,” he tells E! News. “I thought it was a huge act of betrayal when I was a kid. I didn’t like that. When I found out the truth, I was like ‘Why, why, why would you lie to me?’”

Still, other parents – in fact, most – think “Elf On The Shelf” is just good plain fun – and you’ll find experts to support that side of the argument as well. “Kids up to four, five, six and seven live in what we call fantasy magic life years,” Dr. Benjamin Siegel, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine tells PBS. “If the myths are good and talk about sharing and helping your neighbor, then that’s really nice!”

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence 


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