We all know Santa Claus’ deal when it comes to Christmas. He divides kids into two categories — naughty or nice — and gives presents to the former and coal to the latter.
But in a new video entitled “Naughty Or…” from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), we see Santa contemplate the ethical implications of labeling kids “naughty” or “nice.” If you were labeled a “naughty” child due to behavioral issues growing up, you might appreciate his words. You can watch the full video here.
“Naughty… or nice?” Santa says while sitting on a snow-covered roof. “As if some kids don’t have enough to worry about only to have me judge them, without context, without perspective — without any sort of doctorate in psychology.”
He goes on to explain that behavior that stems from childhood mental health struggles (like anger and impulsivity, for example) would be labeled “naughty” in his current system.
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“Did I condemn every kid who already felt like a misfit toy?” he muses.
Santa acknowledges his way of dealing with “behavior issues” doesn’t take into account the struggles kids are facing every day — like the news, lockdown drills and the internet, just to name a few.
According to NAMI, 50% of mental health conditions begin by age 14. The PSA reminds us it’s more important to focus on the signs a child is struggling rather than apply labels to children who “misbehave.” To learn more about spotting the signs of mental illness, head here.
“The holidays were always stressful in my house with extended family visiting and noticing how much the kids had grown and changed,” Katrina Gay, national director of strategic partnerships at NAMI, said, adding:
There is more intense pressure than ever on our kids to be successful and an expectation that they behave a certain way. But many young people suffer from mental health vulnerabilities. So, instead of making a snap judgment to label their actions as bad behavior, this film encourages all of us to be more compassionate and look a little deeper.