Addressing Mental Health, Santa Questions the Outdated Choices of ‘Naughty or Nice’ for Kids

Press December 23, 2019

For as long as we can remember, conceptualizing holiday giving for children has rested mainly on the binary ideas of naughty vs. nice. At a cursory glance, it’s a winning model: a child wants a new bike, said child refrains from fighting with their siblings or flaking on their homework and, voila, the child gets a bike and forever aims for relative decency. For many households, it’s a system that works.

For a child navigating the world with mental illness or a developmental disorder, the society-friendly concept of “naughty or nice” presents obstacles that those without any experience can’t possibly imagine. For instance, what may look like a tantrum on the outside may actually be a child with specific sensory sensitivities struggling with a beeping produce scanner. A violent outburst may be a product of a chemical imbalance that blocks impulse control. Do these children who unknowingly engage in ostensibly “naughty” behaviors not deserve a decent Christmas?

It’s a question that has Santa in the throes of an existential crisis in a new campaign from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and W+K New York.

Read the full article here.