Skip Nav
Nordstrom Sale
WHOA — These Popular Baby Products Are All on Sale at Nordstrom Right Now
Shopping
This Baby Monitor Has Over 15,000 5-Star Reviews on Amazon — and I Agree
Parenting News
Baby Born at a Chick-fil-A Leaves With Nuggets For Life and the Promise of a First Job at 14

Should You Force Your Kid to Sit on Santa's Lap?

Forcing Kids to Sit on Santa's Lap Is Cruel, and It Needs to Stop

As a parent, it's pretty easy to make mistakes, especially around the holidays. Last year, in my excitement to establish new family traditions with my then one-and-a-half-year-old son, I completely ignored his personality and forced him to sit on Santa's lap for a photo. This is something I still feel guilty about and will never do again.

My son is quiet and kind. He loves people, but he also needs a second to get used to those people when they first meet. Despite knowing this, I was so eager to get that coveted photo of him sitting on the jolly, fat man's lap that I forced him to do so while kicking and screaming.

Children are not props, and forcing a tearful photo is irresponsible.

I now know that this was a terrible way to treat my son. He trusts me completely. I am his mom and it's my job to protect him from anything bad, confusing, or hurtful, and yet I was willing to let him scream and cry because of a silly holiday tradition. Tears streaming down his flushed cheeks, he kept reaching out for me to save him from the terrifying man he didn't know.

This experience is what made me realize once and for all that children should never be made to be uncomfortable just for a silly picture. We try and tell children to be weary of adults and to watch out for strangers; then we tell them, despite their wishes, to go sit on a random man's lap. It's mixed messages at best. It's downright cruel at worst.

Every year I see photos on fridges, on social media, and in holiday cards of crying children with Santa that are supposed to be funny. And, thanks to movies and photos from our own childhoods, that's exactly what we've been made to believe . . . that it's funny. I worry that this photo in and of itself has become a right of passage, something that every parent tries to check off in their laundry list of must-have pictures. But children are not props, and forcing a tearful photo is irresponsible.

If my son ever gets to that stage where he adores Santa and wants to sit next to him, that's fine and I will honor his wishes. Until then, I'm not going to exploit my child's tears for a humorous photo to share with friends.

From Our Partners
How Greeting Cards Can Improve Relationships
Easy Ways to Raise Money For Charity on Facebook
Back-to-School Traditions For Kids
Arielle Charnas on Postpartum Panic Attacks
Beauty and Mental Illness Essay
Transgender People Talking About Pose the TV Show
Essay About Piercing Your Daughter's Ears
Essay About Not Liking Your Friends' Kids
Willow Breast Pump Review
When to Stop Breastfeeding Story
Best Baby Feeding Products 2018
Legoland California Tips
From Our Partners
Latest Moms
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds