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Creating an Intentional New Year…

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I was already familiar with conscious parenting when the Elf on the Shelf became popular a few years ago, I found out about it when my kids were toddlers and I heard stories about him moving every night and being a fun addition during Christmas time. I was excited to start this new tradition until I read the book. He wasn’t here just for the fun, but he was just another parent tool to manipulate children’s good behavior in order to get their presents from Santa on Christmas.

I was disappointed and as I was reading, the words in the book didn’t align with my heart and my intentions for the holidays, but the elf was home and I was reading his story to my kids, so I made up my own version, good thing they didn’t know how to read. Since then we have an elf that visits us the day after Thanksgiving and he is just a fun visitor that moves around the house when they are sleeping, without the naughty/nice par,t or the reporting to Santa, or the good/bad, or watch out don’t break any rules.

Why? Because kids don’t need another figure that they love to judge them. They more than likely already have their parents doing that. Why ruin the kids the most wonderful time of the year with such an anxiety-maker idea? And why would I want to teach my kids that they can’t make mistakes to get what they want if, in reality, that’s how in life they will actually get it? Why do I need to bring yet one more thing to our kids’ lives that tell them they aren’t good enough since kids behaving well all the time is such an unrealistic expectation?

We have our own version of the Elf on the Shelf because we also have our own version of Santa, and here are a few of the reasons why:

I don’t need an Elf that reports any behavior because it doesn’t serve my kids and it wouldn’t help them to do better. All it would do is to leave them feeling bad about themselves and shame never motivates anyone.

I don’t need an Elf judging my kids “good or bad” “naughty or nice” when I have worked hard teaching my kids that there are no bad kids but kids that need help and practice.

Our Santa will bring them a present regardless of how they behave because knowing this has never encouraged them to behave differently and definitively have not encouraged them to behave badly.

Our Santa brings every kid a present because everybody makes mistakes, everyone has bad days and nobody is perfect all the time.

And finally, if I want my kids to look up to our Santa then I want them to know that the spirit of Christmas has nothing to do with what people do, Santa is here to bring joy and not despair (coal) to the ones that are already there, who knows maybe those “bad” children receiving a present realize that in spite of their behavior at least someone cares and maybe actually encourage them to do better.

I don’t know when something beautiful like the spirit of Christmas and the joy of giving was transformed into yet one more discipline tool parents use to get compliance from their kids and this ugly manipulation to make kids behave to their liking. But I understand it is easy to do what everyone else is doing. So, my invitation is to reflect on your intentions for this season and look around your home and make the changes needed to reflect those intentions with your children.

-Isabel Stafford, Family Alchemist™

#isabelstafford #elfontheshelf #christmas #nocoal #nobadkids #joyofgiving #nooneisperfect

 

 

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