Parents are being warned not to stage frightening Grinch Christmas photoshoots with their children, with claims it’s traumatising and increases their risk of anxiety and depression.

Christmas Grinch photos have become increasingly popular, with many parents opting for the tongue-in-cheek snaps instead of traditional Christmas photos. The shoots start off innocently enough, with kids assuming they’re taking happy snaps for the family Christmas card. But things soon take a turn when The Grinch sneaks up from behind, scaring the children. And kids literally fall all over themselves trying to get away.

Parents have taken to social media sharing videos and images of their children frantically running from The Grinch, in what many describe as harmless fun. Which is exactly what Samantha Anderson did on TikTok, with her video amassing more than 12 million views.


@samanthaanderson18You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch ##fyp♬ You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Tyler, The Creator

Her video also attracted the attention of Dr Kali, MD an Adult and Adolescent Psychiatrist who called out parents for allowing their kids to take part in the photoshoots.

“I’m a paediatric psychiatrist and this is traumatic for children. You are their protector, so them seeing you stand by and laugh while they’re being attacked by a stranger is traumatic. Parents, please don’t do this.”

But many of the comments sided with the parents, claiming that there’s nothing traumatising about the satirical photoshoots.”I’m a clinical professional and certified in trauma treatment,” one person commented.”Calm down. Life is about building resilience.”

“I can’t stand 2021,” wrote Madison. “The fact that everything needs to be tiptoed and roses and butterflies is so sad. It’s a joke. It’s funny. They will be ok.”

You’re the mean one! ##parents ##parenting ##parentsoftiktok ##grinch ##grinchphoto ##trauma ##traumatic ##childhood ##children ##psychiatrist
♬ You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch – Tyler, The Creator

Samantha herself responded to the negativity, with another video of happy snaps of her children, stating “Please enjoy this video of my traumatised children living their best life.”

But Dr Kali isn’t backing down, claiming the consequences of allowing children to be frightened while parents look on are wide-reaching.

“This video wasn’t specifically about The Grinch, though it was a good example. It was a video about how parents intentionally put their children in a position for them to be scared. And yes, in some cases, attacked, while their parents stand by and laugh and not rescue them.

“Children, especially at a young age, do not have the intellectual capacity to deconstruct what happened. So they quite literally feel like they’re running for their lives while their parents stand by and laugh. And do you know what the fear of being killed increases their risk for? PTSD, anxiety, phobias, depression. So parents, please don’t do this or they might end up in my office.”

What do you think? Are these photoshoots a harmless laugh, or traumatising?

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  • Not a fan. It;s funny but a bit mean.


  • Parents need to think sensibly instead of thinking that it’s funny seeing your kids scared of a character on films or tv, then they have nightmares and wonder why.


  • There is no way I would have done this to my boys. It was bad enough at night when something scared them that I had no control over. Definitely a no-no from me


  • This is not something I would do to my kids. Just getting a photo with Santa over the years was scary enough for my kids and in that instance there no intention to scare them. I prefer to make Christmas more of a joyous occasion


  • For me, I dont want to subject my child to any traumatising experience ‘coz you never know what it will do to her in the future. Totally agree that we should be their protector. Anyway, we all have different views and parenting style and you know your child better than anyone. No hate just love


  • Christmas is suppose to be a joyous time why would anyone want to traumatize their children in such a way.
    Nothing beats the magic of Christmas and the joy Santa brings to children.


  • I would never do this to anyone. Just plain cruel.


  • I have 2 comments: personally I would n’t choose to do it to my kids, they are too little to process it, would just be scared.
    Secondly – if you want to do it to your kids, I guess that’s your choice, but filming it?! I’m sorry that just smacks of ‘we want the attention/ we are doing this for our benefit, not the kids having a funny prank moment’…. why post it on social media? it comes across as a vanity project.


  • Ihave never liked that movie or the character. Yes very scary and traumatising for young children. I would never do that to my children plus he has nothing to do with the real meaning of christmas


  • Wow! I would not even consider doing this to my son. Why?


  • Didn’t know this was a thing! I think it’s all in good fun.


  • I personally wouldn’t do this to my 5 year old son, it would break his little heart. I wouldn’t even want it done to me. If others chose to do it to their kids that’s your choice, check though why do you want to scare your children? Is it for likes on social media? Or another reason.


  • Now that is very scary for a little child. They are going to have nightmares.
    Yes, parents want a little fun but will someone think of the children.


  • Yeah, can’t really see the Christmas spirited behind scaring the life out of the kids tbh


  • You have to ask whose needs this is meeting – certainly not the children. Just indulgent parents satisfying g their own needs. What a horrible Christmas photo. These kids will question their parents when they are older.


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