Tag Archives: parenting

Psychologists: Just Like Mariah, Santa Is Real

This article contains spoiler alerts and / or trigger warnings about Santa. I’m not sure what a trigger warning is, but there seems to be a lot of them about. So if you’re thinking of shooting Santa,
or anyone for that matter, please don’t.

It has taken me a few days to masticate and digest reports about an article published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal that parents who lie to their children about Santa Claus could wreak havoc with their offspring’s moral compass. This could apparently lead to a Bermuda Triangle of floundering lies, tinsel, and disgruntled kiddies.

With all due respect to the learned psychologists who penned the report, I call bullshit.

You’re secret is safe with me, Santa

The report suggested that by lying about the existence or otherwise of the big bloke in red, parents can irrevocably damage the trust their kids have in them, resulting in “abject disappointment” when said kids discover the “truth” about the Christmas Eve nocturnal visitor. “There is potential for children to be harmed in these lies,” said clinical psychologist Kathy McKay, one of the report’s authors. Calm down Kathy, I know you’re looking out for the kids, but it’s ok.

Christmas is a time of innocence, magic and wonder, and sure, a few creative porkies. Don’t overanalyse or destroy this charming story for kids. They’re fine. Parents lie to their kids all the time in varying degrees. We all survived the great reveal of Santa. I can’t recall a mass shooting occurring with young Trevor, tears streaming down his face, screaming “WHADDAYAMEANTHEREISNOSANTA!!??” while at the business end of an AK-47.

The Lancet report’s authors did raise an interesting point, “If adults have been lying about Santa, even though it has usually been well intentioned, what else is a lie? If Santa isn’t real, are fairies real? Is magic? Is God?” The God bit caught my eye, I know Christmas “should” be about a certain baby blowing out his birthday candles, but not being the most religious chap, I’ll stick with the Santa narrative, it’s more believable.

I love the whole Santa story, it’s wonderful. Suspending disbelief of the North Pole workshop, the elves, the reindeers, the transport logistical issues, the leaving out of Santa’s beverage and food of choice, so excited and not being able to sleep, but forcing yourself in case he didn’t come, then waking up on Christmas morning, racing out to the tree, and the unbridled joy of “SANTA’S BEEN!! SANTA’S BEEN!!”

Parents, let kids enjoy the Santa experience for as long as they can. Sure, if they’re 41 years old and still a believer, you may have a slight issue. Just chill out, have a quiet drink or a nice cup of tea, and depending on what hemisphere you’re in, spray some fake snow on the windows, and listen to Mariah Carey warbling about making her wish come true for the three millionth time.

PS Santa, I’ve been a good boy this year.

©Steve Williams 2016

*This piece also appeared in The Huffington Post AustraliaLying To Kids About Santa Is A Gift

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Shitty Parenting?

So I received this sms today: “Woman changing dirty nappy at the next table in our restaurant.”

“Change your kid’s nappy over there”

What is it with some parents? I repeat some parents. At the risk of encouraging a “shit-in” in the lobby of the randomswill corporate HQ, since when is it ok to change a nappy in the middle of a restaurant? *crickets* *tumbleweeds* Exactly.

Do these people lose their minds when they have children, or were they always like that? Did they always have an I-can-do-whatever-the-f-I-want mentality or is just because they have bred?

Remember that recent-ish breastfeeding brouhaha? Australian television personality David Koch was virtually pitchforked for giving his opinion on a story that a nursing mother should be more “classy” in public. The torrent of abuse (obviously not all from mothers) resulted in a “nurse-in” and outraged comments from “lactivists” — you really hope whoever came up with that one had a smile on their face.

Exactly when did parenting become so political? When did motherhood (and fatherhood) become so militant? When did “lactivist” and “nurse-in” creep into the vernacular? There was another recent case when burning torches were directed at a Sydney café owner — with threats to burn down the premises in response to a discussion she had with a breastfeeding customer. I’m not suggesting nursing mothers moonlight as arsonists, this was more the work of some bandwagon-jumping nutjobs.

I grappled with the whole breastfeeding thing a while ago, to summarise — nursing mothers should not be shamed into retreating anywhere, especially a disgusting toilet, but it might be nice if they showed a bit of discretion rather than boob.

That attitude I mentioned earlier seems to be getting worse — with increasing parenting fails — kids being allowed to run around screaming in cafés/ expensive resorts / hotels / wherever — all because mum and dad want some “me time”. Then there are those Mad Max-inspired strollers blockading doorways and footpaths, to today’s effort — nappy action in a restaurant.

Actually, I might need one of those, because it’s starting to give me the shits.

©Steve Williams 2013

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Birthday with a bang

So it was a fantastic week for parenting. Seriously. One notable example showed that children are not only our future, but are in very good hands. Ok, one of those hands might be holding a semi-automatic pistol, or a pump-action shotgun, but that’s of little consequence.

“Pass the parcel” 2012 style

The story of eight-year-old kids having parties at a shooting range copped more of a barrage than a nude guy chomping on a face in Miami. Where’s the problem? It should be encouraged. What else are you going to do for a kid’s party? Bouncy castle in the backyard? BORING! Stretch limousine to a session with a beautician? PLEASE, SO 2003. McDonald’s party? WHAT? You’re going to let your kids eat that stuff? Haven’t you read those alarming reports on childhood obesity? Paintball? Nah, that’s just pretend for pussies. No, kids these days want to shoot stuff with real high-powered weapons. Not so much “pin the tail on the donkey” but “blow the f*ck out of the donkey”. Maybe that’s next, hunting birthday parties — preferably not limited to garden-variety Equus africanus asinus, but endangered species like Black Rhinos, or tigers (any brand will do). That would also get the children out and get them some fresh air.

The gentleman at the shooting range sounds as responsible as the parents, his only condition for would-be Dirty Harrys and Harriets — “You have to be tall enough to get above the shooting table”. See? Where’s the drama with that? Caring Mr Smith-Wesson doesn’t want little Tiaaanna coming home with a gaping hole where her left nostril used to be.

A word of advice — just make sure little Trevor takes a really, really good present to the party. You don’t want to be around a disappointed, tearful eight-year-old wielding a Glock pistol…

©Steve Williams 2012

*This piece was published in the sadly now defunct The Punch by news.com.au

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