Why shouldn’t you threaten your son that kings won’t bring him gifts?

In the pre-Christmas phase there are many classics: Christmas carols, the announcement of the Lottery, polvorones, soft nougat, visiting the most beautiful places in the city to see the Christmas decorations, company dinners, … Without a doubt, there is another «classic» frequently used by parents, grandparents or uncles: “IF YOU BE BAD, SANTA CLAUS / THE KINGS WILL NOT BRING GIFTS.” The only purpose of this famous phrase is to intimidate the smallest of the house so that they behave well.



There are many reasons why parents use this threat, since sometimes we can run out of ideas to get them to listen to us, but from an educational, psychological and pedagogical point of view it is not highly recommended . One of them and more important is that parents know that they are not going to comply with this threat, because in fact, in most of the occasions they make this warning they have already bought the gifts, which leads to a loss of credibility , and therefore, of authority, of the figure of the adult who verbalizes it.
Other reasons why it is not advisable to threaten the absence of gifts “if they do not behave” would be:
– Because threats are not a good method to educate , with them you only get the child to hide to get the gift, but not because they have internalized why things are not done wrong.
– Unconsciously , the child is being conditioned to its correct behavior based on external reinforcement (in this case gifts), not because it must always do so regardless of whether there is a reward or not.


By threatening to leave our children without gifts, what we want is for there to be a change in their behavior. As parents we have many resources and tools to be able to accompany and educate our children in their different stages of growth. We must bear in mind that when consequences are established it is essential that the adult has notified the minor in advance, so that he can rectify or modify his behavior. In the same way, it is very important that the consequences are proportional to what happened , and not to the emotional state in which we find ourselves at the time of what happened.
That a bad action must have a consequence is fine, but as psychologists we always recommend that these consequences never affect social, family or sports aspects . Since socialization, sports and the family suppose healthy and necessary environments that contribute to the emotional growth of the child.
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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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