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Parents on calling Santa

Experts may disagree, but parents think playing the Santa card is a perfectly acceptable way to encourage good behavior.

Jen Weigel

Lessons for life

December 24, 2010

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Since my admission that I pulled the Santa card by pretending to call Santa's cell phone when my son was misbehaving, the reader feedback has been consistent: Despite what our expert says, play that card.

"Playing the Santa card is one of those unwritten perks of being a parent," wrote Steve. "Sure, it's arguably a nasty thing to pull on your kids but it stands up there with the best parental perk of all: 'Because I TOLD YOU SO!'"

"Have 'called' Santa, the police, the hospital, grandma and grandpa. Elf on the Shelf works great too. Check it out," said Paul.

"I haven't (called Santa on the cell phone) but I have put Tabasco in their mouths for saying bad words," said J.J. "Is that in the Dr. Spock baby book?"

Mitch encouraged the false cell phone call and says, "That also works for the Easter Bunny, so cold weather and warm weather seasons are both covered!"

"What are you talking about? I have called for myself when I get out of line!" wrote John.

Kim added, "I threaten to e-mail although Max and Nate STILL believe Santa can hear and see all the goodness as well as the naughtiness."

"I would get on the phone with the North Pole and leave a message with the head elf so as not to disturb Santa when he was making toys for all the good little girls and boys," said Elyse.

Beth said "Yep ... used it last night on the way into the mall to see Santa ... reminded said child who we were about to see and that I could tell Santa anything I wanted too."

"We only get to play the Santa Card for four out of 52 weeks and only for about 8-9 years," said Tina. "If your child lives to be 80 then you'll have only used the Santa Card .008% of her life. How bad can that be?"

Another Tina said, "Heck, my grandpa used to call us every Christmas eve telling us he just shot Rudolph off the roof and Santa wouldn't be coming to our house...I came out of my childhood without any problems, I think?"

"My mom used to scare us into believing there were elves outside the house watching us, especially so close to Christmas," said Karen. "My kids are angels right now thanks to my Santa threats! Went to church yesterday without whining!"

Tasha wrote, "If playing the Santa card gets the behavior you want, then DO IT -- there's worse things you could do to yer kidlet."

jweigel@tribune.com