|Oh, ya, this is adorable. Can't live without a lasting moment such as this. Blech.|
(For what it's worth, my mom has said she wouldn't do this again,
if she could do things over again.)
No. No, no, no. Why is this even a thing? Why is this considered cute? Why do so many think this is a holiday necessity? What in the name of all that is good and right in the world makes the sight of our most precious kin crying out for safety and security so got-dang funny?
Under no other circumstances would we turn our trusting babes over to someone who is a complete stranger to them, terrifying them and breaking that feeling of security for the sake of a picture that we later use for nothing other than to mock. Let's get our priorities straight here: picture of a screaming, crying child with some dude in a costume OR happy, not traumatized, trusting child? The length of time for which s/he is traumatized is irrelevant, as we cannot debate that the fear they have during those moments is, indeed, traumatizing, as evidenced by the reaction. They're speaking to us! This seems like a no-brainer to me, because I choose to respect my child as I do all other people, because he is a person, no matter how small. I don't believe him to be lesser than because he is shorter than I, because he is younger than I, because he cannot always tell me exactly what he means or how he feels. In fact, those things mean to me that I am responsible for protecting him from that which he finds scary even more than I would the average Joe.
Making fun of our kids' big emotions is not OK.
Putting them in positions to experience fear for the sake of our amusement and sense of obligation is not OK.
One picture is not worth it.
Kids are people, too. Listen to them. Yes, even when they can't speak our language, they can still tell you what they want and need.
You expect your kids to be trustworthy. You're their examples, their models. Breaking their trust at this delicate age (or any age) is not OK.
As with everything, consent matters. It matters more than your feelings and wishes, it matters more than your plans, it matters more than those who tell you it is a thing that "must" be done.
Start teaching them now that their feelings and wishes for themselves don't matter and you're setting them on the path toward a world in which their consent doesn't matter, which is a path nobody wants them on except the predators out there.
So, I'll ask the question again: Is that one photo really that important? More important than all the rest? I don't think so and I think if you jump off the Christmas track for just a moment to consider your children, you won't think so, either.