In an ironic twist, a 9-year-old boy was shamed for his weight by a man dressed as “jolly” old St. Nick, who is known for a belly that “shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly,” in the words of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Anthony Mayse of North Carolina visited Santa over the weekend to request an iPod Touch and a drone for Christmas.
But when the boy was getting off St. Nick’s lap, the man suggested the kid “lay off the hamburgers and French fries.” Mayse told a local edition of ABC News that the words “really just disrespected me and I felt awful.”
“Very rude. I’ve never seen anything like it,” the boy’s mom, Ashley Mayse, told the news station.
Apparently, the man playing Santa was made to apologise to the child, his family, and his supervisor, according to the town manager, ABC News says.
We could make “naughty and nice” all day, but the truth is, the body shaming of children is one of the lowest forms of shaming.
According to a doctor interviewed by Parents magazine, this kind of treatment toward kids “violates their trust in their parents and can lead to permanent, lifelong problems” for them. “Anxiety and depression later in life can stem from a shaming incident during childhood,” the article states.
It continues to explain that shaming children is a type of bullying behaviour that can even constitute abuse, and that it’s often a result of being abused and perpetuating the cycle. It also represents “loss of control and a display of immaturity for parents.”
Town officials released a statement that said, in part, “On Tuesday, that individual who portrayed Santa Claus and was scheduled for the next two Fridays and Saturdays has informed the town he would no longer provide his service as Santa to the town.”