RTD: Elf on the Shelf and Other Christmas Bribes


‘Tis the season to teach our kids about the wonders of bribery.  There is nothing better than knowing that for the month of December (and some of November if you work it right) you can get your kids to do just about anything you want them to.  I enjoy this time of year knowing that I can tell my kids that their tantrums, bad choices, or devious scheming can land them on the Naughty List.  Outside of the holiday season, it is difficult to create a simple system of actions and consequences that they can understand.

ZBadElfSomething that has come out an is becoming more and more popular is the Elf on the Shelf.  The idea behind The Elf is that he watches what your kids do, and reports to Santa every night.  This is why he is in a new place every morning.  However, sometimes there are bad Elves that get into trouble a night and create messes.  Regardless, it is a physical representation and reminder of the possible consequences of our kids’ actions.  When I consider this, I understand the draw of the Elf on the Shelf, however, my wife and I have decided against adopting it.

What’s more important during the holiday season than convincing Santa that you have earned your presents for the year?  GIVING!  Last week we talked about volunteering, and how giving of your time is a beautiful thing to teach your kids, especially during this time of year.  I am not judging anyone who does the EOTS, or bribes the heck out of their kids this time of year.  My wife and I have used bells and fake Santa voices for the last few years just to get our kids to sleep on Christmas eve.  In fact, it was so bad last year that my daughter was certain that she SAW Santa.  I am definitely not one to judge.

Since I know our DadsRT community and know that we will eventually come to the conclusion that “balance” is the key to how we interact with our kids this season, my question is HOW.  How do we create that balance in our kids as they get older?  We want them to get excited with getting presents, but also with giving them.  We want them to consider more than what they may get, but what someone else may want.  How do we create children who are not caught-up in the “magic” of the holidays and are mindful of those who only read about holiday magic?  I know that I get caught up in wanting the best for my kids that I forget that they need to think about others.  As we get closer to Christmas, we should be thinking about these things.

Join us this Wednesday for #DadsRT at 6pst/9est as we chat about the bribes, the fun expectation, and the compassion of the holidays.  Use the #DadsRT hashtag to follow along and participate. 



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About ManvDadhood

I am a man, and by my wife’s standards that makes me flawed. My challenge to parents, and to myself, is not to teach my kids about the kind of person I hope them to become one day, but to become that person today.

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