On Shelf Elfs

The “Elf on the Shelf” tradition is, unfortunately, growing in popularity. This absurd scheme involves two practices that every family should abandon: lying to your kids; and promising either rewards or punishment for behavior. The former is disrespectful and destructive to the trust needed to build strong relationships, and the latter teaches selfishness and conditional love. I see no reason why we would want to inculcate disrespect, mistrust, selfishness, and conditional love in our children. Do you? And that’s today’s two cents.


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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.