Honestly, it never occurred to me that taking photographs of children crapped-off at being parked on Santa’s lap for thirty seconds would be tantamount to child abuse.
Much less that, in later years, it could make these children less likely to report “inappropriate touching”.
It’s a classic of the genre and I’ll bet most family albums have a similar snap.
The folks on Twitter thought, like I did, that the photo was “hilarious”, “cute”, “brilliant” and happily passed it on.
@JuanitaSparkle: belly laugh, thank you for getting me in the Christmas spirit:)
But, like I say, nothing quite prepared me for the reaction on Facebook, with some saying they were “distressed” at the image of the girls and their obvious “terror”.
The girls were “scared beyond belief” and “crying out for their parents to protect them”, some said.
Pfft! I replied. Their parents were a metre away, and besides, the girls even yowled when they were placed on their grandfather’s lap for the first time.
Then, this came back: “I have the same issue with the Grandfather, you DO NOT let children sit or be held by people they do not feel comfortable with. If it’s an imaginary Man in a red suit or the Grandfather doesn’t matter.
“Which kind of man would not give his Grandchildren (he never met before) a bit of time to get to know him and feel happy to come to him on their own terms.
“It is that kind of behaviour from irresponsible parents that makes it hard for children later on to discriminate between appropriate and non appropriate touching.”
So now my brother is an irresponsible parent, I’m a child abuse-enabler and my father is a potential sex offender.
All divined from a photo of taking the kids to see Santa?
Ho, Ho, HUH?
I was also snippily told to read to this article – which I liken to finding a lump of coal in my Xmas stocking.
“Just one incident of forcing your frightened child to sit in Santa Claus’s (sic) lap can cripple the child’s trust in you, and make the child LESS likely to report future sexual abuse to you,” says Jillita Horton – “qualified US personal fitness trainer” and “expert” who blogs at www.scarysymptoms.com. (I dare not even click on: “Should a Woman with Anorexia Avoid Motherhood?”)
I am now confident enough to call this woman a world-class pest… with bells on.
That Australian mothers are taking advice from this personal trainer/expert is indeed a “scary symptom” of modern parenting: Too much information given by effing idiots.
(BTW: Same dingbats who advise you shouldn’t let you offspring see you in the nuddie – lest it burn out their precious kiddie wholesome-sex retinas.)
Horton continues: “Forcing a child into Santa Claus’s lap strips the child of feeling he owns his body. This makes the child LESS likely to resist sexual abuse. Being made to sit in Santa Claus’s lap will dramatically increase the odds that a child will stay silent through years of molestation.
“A deep, throaty ‘Stop! Or I’ll tell my mom!’ can actually stop a 190-pound predator. But a child does not achieve this kind of weapon by being forced to sit in Santa Claus’s lap,” she writes.
“I myself never feared sitting in Santa Claus’s lap. I have memories of only eagerly waiting in line. However, many parents force frightened children to sit in Santa Claus’s lap. Past warnings of “Don’t talk to strangers!” go clear out the window.”
Where do you even start with this kind of errant nonsense?
How about with this?
“A deep, throaty ‘Stop! Or I’ll tell my mom!’ can actually stop a 190-pound predator.”
No it can’t. Little kid Vs. 190 lb predator = NO CONTEST!!
This goes right to the heart of the mental anguish of victims of rape and sexual abuse.
“If only I could have said ‘stop’.”
Anyone reading the accounts of those who, as children, were groomed under their parents’ watchful eye – and then serially, sexually molested and raped will know that no amount of pleading (whether it was said aloud or the cry was strangled in throats from abject fear) made it stop. It’s the same with adult victims who are attacked or drugged or co-erced then raped and abused.
If only I could have said ‘stop’.
For so many, taking their own lives has been the final, last gasp in hoping to be heard. Even when there were people to listen, they were too ashamed or frightened to cry out. As for the parents who were vigilant, but were tricked and deceived by a trusted friend or community leader? Their heartache knows no bounds.
Sexual abuse tears at the heart of all decent men and women. It keeps every decent human being awake at night. Listening.
When we throw good sense out with the Christmas wrapping?
I could go on about the nightmarish trials of “inappropriateness” endured by many good men who love and care for children… however, I’ll be content to quote my father (grandfather to seven).
My Dad was a primary school headmaster for 40 years and cites being “surrounded by children every day” as one of his greatest blessings in life. Yesterday he told me: “Each child is different. It was a joy to go to work.”
And yes, he “touched” the kids.
“I treated them as if they were my own. I hugged them if they were in distress. Although, I wouldn’t go out of my way to mollycoddle,” he said. “I often found that taking troubled kids out of the classroom and getting them into the garden with something manual to occupy their minds worked well.”
And as for the blokes who offered to be Santa over the years?
“They were mostly the fathers of pupils and, as far as I could see, they wanted to be Santa Claus because they had the spirit of Christmas.”
The Spirit of Christmas.
“Peace on earth. Goodwill to all,” is the way we read it in my family. We respect those who have a religious faith. So, a jolly, holly “thanks” to all good men this festive season. And a hats off to Saint Nicholas, for this is his shared celebration with children of the Christian faith.
Here at my place we have been happy to leave Father Christmas a milk and a bikkie (remembering .05) and, if we are blessed with grandkids, will continue to do so.
Stick that up your chimney!!
I can’t leave without citing this from the so-called expert.
Click if you dare… (My fave advice being this: Often, pedophiles lure kids because they don’t want to create a scene. How else can they get kids to go off with them? They entice kids.) Yup, in the middle of Harvey Norman’s Christmas cave!
Click HERE – why parents should be happy if their child is scared of Santa Claus
Click HERE – Three parents say why they never forced their kids to sit in Santa Claus’s lap.
Click HERE – Child’s fear of Santa Claus’s lap should trump parents’ quest for that holiday photo.