Elf on the Shelf.
Every half-wit Mommy blogger in the world has covered this subject ad nauseam over the past few years. I do not intend to offer you the same silly jokes, observations, or suggestions about this Christmas phenomenon. I promise. Instead, I am going to share some effective (perhaps a bit harsh and in some cases, outright sadistic) methods to leverage this magical little friend for disciplinary purposes during this joyous holiday season.
Before I divulge these techniques, let me take a quick step back to bring you non-Elf-owners up to speed.
Per www.elfontheshelf.com, here is the low down…
“The tradition begins when Santa sends his scout elves out to Elf Adoption Centers. Waiting for their families to bring them home, these patient elves hibernate until their family reads The Elf on the Shelf, gives their elf a very special name, and registers their adoption online. Once named, each scout elf will receive its Christmas magic and become a part of the family’s Christmas each and every year.
Excellent listeners and even better observers, these scout elves are the eyes and ears of Santa Claus. Although they cannot be touched, or else they may lose their magic, the elf will always listen and relay messages back to Santa. Taking in all the day-to-day activities around the house, no good deed goes unnoticed; these scout elves take their job seriously.
Each night, after the family goes to bed, the scout elf uses his magical Christmas powers to fly back to the North Pole. Once there, the elf will make his or her daily report to Santa and visit with elf friends where they will tell stories about their beloved families, play with the reindeer, and of course, sneak some of Mrs. Claus’ cookies!
Before the family awakes each morning, their special scout elf will fly back to their home from the North Pole. However, since these elves like to play games, don’t expect to find them in the same spot! While some like to hide in the freezer (probably because it reminds them of the North Pole) and others prefer to sit on the fireplace mantle or hang from the chandelier, these elves love to play hide-and-seek with their families.
On Christmas Eve, the scout elf will listen for Santa’s bell and then fly back to the North Pole until the next season, wishing every girl and each boy a Christmas of peace and a year full of joy. Join the tradition and adopt your own Elf on the Shelf now!”
Blah, blah, blah. These Elves (in my family’s case, “Sanny”) are 12” dolls, for lack a better description that for some strange reason kids actually believe are magical. I call it genius branding! But the fact of the matter is this little Elf on the Shelf-thing is making some guy or gal MILLIONS!
For a full month of the year “Sanny” becomes the in-house Gestapo at our house. Every time one of my little cherubs screws up, uh oh, “We are telling Sanny!”
“NO, NO…PLEASE…DON”T! We’re sorry! Please,” beg these small-minded simpletons.
“Ok, fine, but no more fighting/hitting/stealing/punching/smoking/whatever or we are telling Sanny who will surely notify Santa.”
And guess what? It never fails. If I am being very candid, the Elf is as good a disciplinarian as my wife or I could ever dream of being. These kids are more scared of this inanimate object that any adult in their lives.
But, I got to thinking, what if it wasn’t enough to simply threaten to rat your little rats out to the Elf? What if we really needed to set an example of what will happen if they don't wise up? What if we, as parents, took extreme measures to enforce rules? What if we treated the Elf with jail yard justice to make our parenting point? Mob rules. Violence.
While I would never endorse and certainly never partake in the following actions, I am confident they would result in some serious behavioral improvements and, for certain, cause severe childhood trauma that even Sigmund Freud could not rectify.
Level 1: Exhibited Behavior - Not listening
You keep telling the kids to sit down/eat their dinner/lower their voices/hold the wheel. Pick your minor infraction. Instead of an idle threat to simply relay your discontent to your family elf; up the ante.
“That’s it, I told you to sit down and eat your brussel sprouts. Now see what happens.”
Grab said Elf, carry his magical little ass to the children’s viewpoint (and they know you are not supposed to touch him), grab a pair of scissors and cut his hand off.
“How do you feel about your vegetables now, kids? See what you made me do? Now Sanny is headed for the North Pole Emergency Room instead of Santa’s Village tonight. Hope you are happy with yourselves?”
Should carry some weight.
Level 2: Exhibited Behavior - Fighting
Should those tiny treasures of yours engage in physical violence with one another and your ‘use-your-words-crap-psychology-spiel’ does not resonate; set the stakes higher.
“How many times have I asked you to not hit your sister? How many?”
“You don’t know? Oh really? Well, let me ask Sanny.”
Grab your foot-long-merry-muppet, bring him to the sink and create a make-shift Guantanamo Bay water-boarding exhibit (this technique works especially well if you have your spouse pretend to be the elf and scream for mercy in the next room).
“Sorry, Sanny, but some people just won’t’ listen,” you sadly express to the elf as you simulate his drowning.
Trust me, this should break up the scuffle between Frick and Frack.
Once you believe this method had made it’s point, remove now soaked elf from water, wrap him in mini-blanket and place him on the heater as you apologize for nearly murdering him. Visuals are killer lesson teachers.
Level 3: Exhibited Behavior - Stealing/Cheating/Bullying/Larceny
I realize most children that are still in ‘the believing stage’ will not likely get into this much trouble given their respective ages but let’s face it; there are some bad seeds out there.
If you just reach your limit and do not know what else to do to teach your child that you mean business then Level 3 should set Billy or Lilly straight for a long time.
“What do you mean you just took the candy from the store?”
‘What were you thinking when you looked at Shelby’s test paper?”
“You mean to tell me you pushed a girl at school because you didn’t like her headband?”
“Liquor store robbery. Officer down?”
And here comes the dynamite.
For dramatic purposes, run away from your child in a frantic manner straight for the Elf on that Damn Shelf. Be sure to run fast enough so the child can’t catch or stop you in any way. Grab that cheery, smug bastard, bring him to the (lit) fireplace (If you don’t have a fireplace a lit cigarette/cigar can work. If you don’t smoke a garbage disposal or blender can suffice) and throw him/her in.
“I’m sorry, Sanny, but ‘Sally’ just keeps making bad decisions. This hurts me more than you, Sanny.”
Stand in a serious, mesmerized pose as you watch the magical guy burn alive in front of your child’s eyes (again, if you have a spouse strategically planted around the corner screaming bloody murder (pun intended) than it will only punctuate this display of pure evil and ensure an incredibly repentful – albeit damaged -child).
Once again, I highly doubt that any of you loving parents will ever need to take your disciplinary actions to this level, but Dr. Frank is here to help if they do.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!