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Using Santa Claus: 3 Methods to Turn Your Wild Child into a Little Angel

Using Santa Claus: 3 Methods to Turn Your Wild Child into a Little AngelBefore I became a mom, I stood firm on what I would and wouldn’t do as a parent. I will never raise my voice at my kids. I will never let my child have a tantrum in public. Good thing I didn’t sign any contracts, because I’ve failed in most promises I made to my “before kids” self. However, one promise I made pre-motherhood is one that I am now embracing – I use Santa Claus as a threat to correct bad behavior.

I know that this threat will expire soon and that it will never have the same impact with my first child versus my third child (I imagine the older siblings will rat me out and call me a liar). But until that day comes, here are three tactics that I use to obtain good behavior with the help of Santa Claus:

1. Call Santa Claus @ (951) 262-3062 (You’re Welcome!)

When my son is misbehaving, I abruptly leave the room and announce that I’m calling Santa. Seven out of ten times, I get the reaction I’m looking for. I make a faux call to the North Pole, which are quite comical and Oscar-worthy (I’d like to thank my middle school drama teacher for my acting chops). The phone call usually goes something like this:

Me – “Hi Elf, can I speak with Santa if he isn’t too busy? Thanks!”

Son – *crying hysterically*

Me – “Hey Santa! It’s me, Mrs. Scinto. Yeah, I got a situation. You can hear him? Yep, he’s acting up again. Oh, you can put him on the naughty list? OK, thanks Santa!”

By this time, his whining has mellowed, since he’s listening in on my conversation with St. Nick. I can then talk with my hot-tempered son or calm him through a tantrum with reasoning and love.

2. Santa Claus = Big Brother

I’m also guilty of claiming that Santa Claus reviews footage of being honest (the irony) and being kind. I know this sounds like some Big Brother stuff (perhaps I should go by “George Orwell” instead of “mom”), but I promise that I do this to correct my son’s behavior and cause him to reflect upon his actions.

This tactic seems to work best when I catch him in a white lie, like when he blames his two-year-old brother for something I’m confident he did. I simply say, “I will review the camera later,” which are magic words. He then quickly owns up to his bad behavior and apologizes for being dishonest. We then talk about taking ownership for your actions, whether it’s telling a white lie or being kind to others.

3. Send Letters from Santa Claus

My mother-in-law started to send letters from Santa a few years back, but my boys were too young. I think the golden age for this letter to work a Christmas miracle is between ages four and five, which is close to my boys’ current ages. This summer, we got a postcard from Santa (my mother-in-law) that featured Jolly St. Nick on the beach, relaxing before he ramps up for the holiday season. The postcard included ways to get on the nice list – be kind to others, listen to your parents, clean up your toys, and brush your teeth before bed. These seem like easy expectations for children, but the arrival of the postcard in the summer was a nice reminder for my kids. You can also customize the letter, or just keep to the standard letter.

What I’m doing works for right now

Admittedly, I use these tactics year-round, but they’re especially effective during the last four months of the year. I gently remind my son that Santa’s watching and if he misbehaves (not sharing, being mean on purpose, etc.), then Santa won’t leave him gifts. I know that my time is limited where all I have to do is mention Santa Claus and tantrums subside. But you better believe that I will milk this for as long as I can.

Are there other good behavior tactics that you use during the holidays? Share in the comments below.

Using Santa Claus: 3 Methods to Turn Your Wild Child into a Little Angel

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7 Responses to Using Santa Claus: 3 Methods to Turn Your Wild Child into a Little Angel

  1. Samantha F December 4, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

    I loved reading your post. I will have to use that Santa phone number!

  2. Karen December 5, 2017 at 4:40 am #

    Horrific. Imagine if your boss or spouse treated you the same- instilled fear to get what they want. You’d definitely end up trusting others right? They’re little people who deserve to feel safe and not manipulated. There is nothing emotionally safe about what you’re doing.

    • Aletta C
      Aletta C December 5, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

      Karen, this is such a great example of differing parenting philosophies, don’t you think? I love that a post like this, which is meant to be humorous and tongue-in-cheek, can start this sort of dialogue. Personally, I seriously doubt that the writer is causing long-term harm to her kids, as she explains in the post that she uses all of these instances as teaching moments. She gets down on her kids’ level, explains her expectations around appropriate behavior (once they have calmed down from trying to overhear her convo with ‘Santa’) and uses these moments to help her kids become responsible citizens. While a person may not agree with her methods, I think the end result is pretty rad.

  3. Kimberly Ruiz-castillo
    Kimberly Ruiz-castillo December 5, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    Omg this is pure genius!! Thank you for sharing as a mother of three boys I will definitely comeback to using these tactics to correct bad behavior.

  4. Jane December 5, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    Hilarious! Sometimes you gotta bust out some tactics on the littles. I used to have to scare my nieces to keep them in line when I’d take them out shopping. Last thing I needed was them running through a store or hiding somewhere I couldn’t find them.

  5. Draia December 7, 2017 at 9:10 pm #

    Lying to your children is a horrible thing to do. It’s certainly not a way to build a trusting relationship. And if your kids can’t trust you, who can they trust? How will they learn what’s healthy in a relationship if not from you? You’re setting them up for abusive relationships in the future.

    • Randi Cornwall
      Randi Cornwall December 7, 2017 at 10:42 pm #

      It’s a humongous fallacious leap to state that lying about Santa will turn these children into future victims of abuse. (As a victim of assault, myself, I take umbrage with that claim.) besides that accusation being unfounded it’s also just mean. While some psychologists THEORIZE there may be harm (solely to the parent child relationship, not to the child as an individual), they still have not proven a link between the santa myth and irreversable damage to the parent-child relationship: “At this point, there is no evidence that lying about Santa in particular is harmful to children, and may young adults tell us of fond memories of Santa,” she said.
      See? Even trained psychologists disagree.

      But what does cause harm? Getting on the internet and shaming another mother, one who clearly loves her children, for making a playful blog post about something as innocuous as Santa. I have the great pleasure of knowing this woman personally, and your accusations towards her couldn’t be MORE off-base. Although her post was intentionally humorous, even if it was dead-on accurate, nothing, not one thing she described qualifies as abuse. We all parent differently, and I can respect that you may not choose to parent the way I do, or the way this author does. It’s unfortunate that you cannot give her the same grace.