Washington Post ponders if children have to sit on Santa’s lap in the middle of #MeToo movement

The Washington Post published a story this week asking whether or not to have children sit on Santa’s lap in the middle of #MeToo movement.
(Lindsey Turner Photography)

Bah humbug.

The Washington Post published a story this week asking whether or not children should be forced to sit on Santa’s lap in the middle of #MeToo movement.

WashPost gender and family issues reporter Samantha Schmidt wrote the feature headlined, “Have crying children sitting on Santa’s lap for pictures? Here is the reason why some parents are saying no.” The story appeared in the Social Issues section of the paper on the website.

Schmidt opened the piece by painting a picture of a two-year-old girl was reluctant to sit on Santa’s lap during a recent trip to the mall – who are frustrated with the toddler’s mother. Schmidt asked, “If her daughter was crying and opposing a photo on Santa’s lap, as she made her go through with it?”

The reporter notes that a “picture with Santa is still a childhood rite of passage for many Americans,” but some parents have begun to ask questions about the way the culture approaches photos with santa Claus in the middle of #MeToo movement and a national conversation about how to teach young children about consent and physical limits.”

Schmidt thought about what kind of message it sends to girls later in life, when they were forced to sit on Santa’s lap as a child.

“Some say that it is a matter of simply listening to children and not forcing them to go through with photos if they are scared or worried. Others have chosen to take their children to meet Santa in the first place,” Schmidt wrote to detail the various accounts of parents who object to forcing children to sit on Santa’s lap.

However, Schmidt acknowledged that many people still are present in the holiday tradition.

“For many parents, if only Santa in the same sentence as #MeToo is an absurd reaction and an attempt to politicize an innocent, beloved holiday ritual,” she wrote.

Schmidt also cited a developmental psychologist who is “lessons about consent, and unwanted touching should start early, and parents can make use of the holiday tradition as an opportunity to teach children that they have control over their body.”

The reporter added that most of the “Santas learned to ensure that their hands are always visible” during the holiday photo shoots.

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