Tots in tears is usually the norm when taking their first photo with Santa
Tots in tears is usually the norm when taking their first photo with Santa

Why these Santa photos need to stop

It's that time of year and your local shopping centre is sure to be packed full of parents queuing to get their kids' photos with Father Christmas this weekend - whether they like it or not.

Snaps of tots crying as they sit on Santa's lap may be a Christmas classic, but is there something more sinister at play here?

Not all little ones are at ease with meeting jolly Saint Nick.
Not all little ones are at ease with meeting jolly Saint Nick.

 

A parenting expert has argued mums are 'bullies' for forcing their kids to sit on Santa's lap
A parenting expert has argued mums are 'bullies' for forcing their kids to sit on Santa's lap

One parenting expert has claimed mums are "bullies" for forcing their kids to have pics with the Man in Red, even if they have to be dragged kicking and screaming.

Dad-of-six Dr Justin Coulson told Mamamia: "I don't know where we get the idea from that seeing our kids suffer and experience fear and anxiety is funny.

"Any thinking, emphatic parent is going to recognise that this is a stressful situation for some children and there is absolutely no benefit to it.

"If the child is nonconsenting, then the parent's just being a bully. Parents have got to stop bullying their children.

Dad-of-six Dr Justin Coulson says there's nothing funny about photos of kids in distress
Dad-of-six Dr Justin Coulson says there's nothing funny about photos of kids in distress

"We make a really big deal about teaching our children about body boundaries, about body safety and about consent.

"And all of a sudden we make this bizarre exception for a stranger in a red suit in a shopping centre."

Child psychologist Dr Kimberley O'Brien agreed, saying the Santa photos are going against all our "stranger danger" warnings because it's so up close and personal.

She added: "There's nothing funny about making a child feel scared and taking a photo of them when they're crying."

In fact, Dr O'Brien thinks parents should praise their kids for refusing to sit on Santa's lap.

But, if you're desperate to get a picture as a memory, Dr Coulson advises getting Mum and Dad in the snap too - and letting your tot sit on your lap instead.

This article originally appeared in The Sun and was republished here with permission.