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“If you don’t behave I’m going to phone Father Christmas and tell him not to come” says the parent.

I even overheard one lady add to the above “… and I’ll also write a letter to the tooth fairy and tell her not to leave any money under your pillow”.

I’ve heard the above expressed in various forms on more than one occasion over the last couple of weeks in this time of supposed good spirit. We all seem to have said it and I was wondering who really has the upper hand, the parent or the child? My guess is the child? You can see the cogs turning in their little minds saying something like “Oh no, not that old chestnut again. As if you would cancel Father Christmas coming, I’d make your life like hell”.

This parental incantation I also suspect has changed over the years. In these days of the wonders of technological communication the parent is presupposing that Father Christmas indeed has a phone and knows how to use it. Of old the parent may well have said “If you don’t behave I’ll send an airmail to Lapland and put Father Christmas off this year”. Of course the savvy child would have known that airmail takes quite a few days to arrive so a few days before Christmas parents were open game.

The stresses, trials and tribulations of parenting at Christmas. Poor child and poor parent…