Scared Straight

‘Tis the season when we Christmas-lovin’ folk start looking at the world through red and green colored glasses. We’re rushing to buy trees, hoarding the best milk for those cold nights when hot cocoa will be divine, making space on our mantle where fuzzy stockings will be hung, and whispering stories into our children’s ears about an evil demon that will drag them to hell if they don’t behave.

Wait…what!? Did you just hear a record scratch?

That story of Santa?  Boring! What a goodie-goodie that guy is. He rewards the good kids with gifts. Effective enough, I guess. But there’s the lesser known Bizarro Santa known as Krampus, a horned beast concocted by Germanic and Eastern European countries (with original ties to Norse Mythology) to scare kids and keep them on the straight and narrow path throughout the year. How you ask? Well, it’s simple really…Krampus threatened to stuff the bad children into his doggy bag and take them down to the fiery pits of his lair where he would feast on them at his leisure if they dare step out of line. Now that’s what I call problem solving.

Santa is to Superman what Krampus is to Batman. Santa is an out-and-out hero with a seriously naïve outlook on the goodness in the world and caters to that, while Krampus is that creature lurking in the shadows of Gotham inducing terror into any wrong-doers until they straighten themselves out. Superman may get the sponsorships but Batman gets the results.

Just try it. If your kid’s throwing a tantrum in the aisle at Toys R’ Us, use the good ol’ Santa card and see if your howling monster of an offspring snaps to attention. Maybe you’ll get lucky, maybe not.

But if you pull out the Krampus threat, I bet he or she will snap to attention a lot quicker knowing their soul is on the line instead of a 10-speed bike. Put yourself in your kids’ shoes for a second and listen to these two phrases:

1) “Santa won’t give you that train set unless you stop yelling.”

2) “Krampus is going to eat you alive and feast on your bones unless you get yourself under control right now.”

I’m no child psychologist but I’m going to take a wild guess that Option #2 might be a tiny bit more effective. You never know until you try, right?

Eastern Europe might’ve been a harsh place to live back in Krampus’ day, but one thing’s for sure, they knew how to keep their kids under control. Seems like there’s a lesson in there some place.

7 thoughts on “Scared Straight

  1. roflmao I’d prefer not to threaten my child companion with either. I am partial to Krampus though.
    Years ago I taught my little companion that fits in the store would be rewarded by being left behind and by being ignored. They would not be positively or negatively rewarded for such behavior.

    • Yeah, I don’t really condone either myself (but it was a thought). Being eaten by Krampus is not really something that would have successful follow-thru anyway. Sort of like the Santa bribe. It would ultimately fail miserably. I guess you’d have to have a wickedly serious face when you’re giving your delivery to make it work.

      But I suppose the point of Krampus was to show children there were consequences for bad behavior — a dark moral fairy tale similar to many of the original Grimm fairy tales, or at least that’s my take on it.

  2. Makes me wonder how Klingon would deal with the issue. (Sorry, it’s this brain, it’s, well… it’s just not right.) I’m sure there aren’t presents being handed out, maybe less punishment IF YOU EARN IT. In lieu of presents, there is however loot and spoils, so if you go kill or beat up someone/something, then you can take their stuff, having earned it like a true warrior!

    Sorry. I’m done now.

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