Do you wish you had an "Elf on the Shelf" from Jan to Nov ?
Is it ok to use "The Elf is watching you" as a parenting tool ?
This is a question that of course we all answer for ourselves. Here are my thoughts on it: On my recent Christmas trip to Germany, I had the pleasure of looking through an old family video that showed me as a 2 year old. What a luxury to be able to dive back into my past being in the role of the observer. Thank you Dad for your consistency and creating these memories for us. This recording from the early 80’s, however, showed a terrified crying toddler that was standing in front of Santa Claus promising to never .... (fill in the blank). It was such a full circle moment that rounded up my year. In 2019, I worked a lot on bringing my unconscious fears to the surface and watching this younger version of me - gave me a good idea how I would later form the belief: "Anyone in authority is trying to punish me, so rebel against them and don’t let them crush you!". Needless to say that for me the threatening parenting method leading up to Christmas, was out of the question and never to be used with my own children. Even my parents (decades later) are amazed what the done thing was back then.
Whenever this topic has come up with fellow parents I am being asked: Aren't you robbing Polly and Ole of their childhood and depriving them of fantasy, magic of make belief? What I figured out for me is that our children innately have this ability to make up their own worlds. We don't need to pretend to believe in something, trying to make a connection with them. My question back is: What can we do to keep their imagination alive rather than stuffing ours in?
Why is it that we want this mysticism? It might have to do with the inner knowing that anything is possible and we are the creators of our own universe. My wish is for our children to believe that they can achieve anything they want. All of us come here with our own preferences, gifts and full of potential. And this brings me to the topic of (white) lies. Let’s role model truthfulness and honest answers.
When possible and say: "I don't know AND let’s find out together." Whenever we lie to children - they know as they are masters of reading our body language. When they are being lied to, they have these choices: A) My parent is right and I can't trust my own intuition B) I can't trust myself and need to quieten this voice inside C) My truth counts and even if this makes me feel alone Once you know what the primary need for children is ~ BELONGING AND SIGNIFICANCE~ take a guess what what they go for? You are right: "I will give myself up to be loved by you." Being genuine and sincere will pay off in the long run, after all the relationship bond with your child is for life. Why not have some fun next Christmas and let each family member take turns hiding the Elf. If you like you could add a little note where an appreciation can be expressed, ie. „Thank you for sharing your lego with me“. Your school children will love it. Younger ones can be helped of course.