Woman blasted for ‘cruel’ prank that left toddler ‘traumatised’ – ‘not a nice joke!’

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Tanya Lee was branded “cruel” by other parents after a prank she played on her son backfired. Some people thought Tanya’s prank had gone too far after it left the five-year-old “traumatised”.

Tanya and her son were playing with the popular Elf on the Shelf toy when the young mother decided to try out a prank.

She convinced her son, Oscar, that his toy Grinch had eaten the elf in their kitchen.

The toddler cried for half an hour after finding a pile of bones on the kitchen working top.

Tanya had laid out chicken bones in the shape of the elf and left his Santa Claus hat on the working top too.

She had then placed the Grinch next to the bones with a knife and fork in its hands.

To complete the fake murder scene, Tanya had covered the bones and the cutlery in ketchup.

All this made it seem like the Grinch had eaten the Elf on the Shelf.

Tanya, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, explained: “We had had roast chicken on Sunday and the bones left a perfect elf-shaped skeleton so I thought I’d play this joke on Oscar.

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“I went for it, and left the skeleton out as if the Grinch ate Elf on the Shelf.

“But my little boy cried and cried. He cried for half an hour. His first words afterwards were ‘the Grinch shouldn’t have eaten her. The Grinch is not allowed to eat her’.

“I had to open the cupboard and show him that the elf was actually hiding and that it was just a silly little joke.

“He was traumatised but I found it hilarious.”

Tanya added: “He was relieved when he found out but he still will not look at the Grinch toy at all. Every time I put the elf near the Grinch now, he moves it away.

“He knows he is not allowed to touch the elf but he moves the Grinch as he thinks the Grinch is going to eat the elf again.”

Tanya shared the photo of the pretend murder scene on a Facebook parenting group, but was faced with backlash from other mothers and fathers.

One person wrote: “That’s a bit cruel. You shouldn’t do that.”

Another person said: “I’m not surprised he was traumatised. It’s not a nice joke to play for a child.”

But Tanya said she has no regrets, adding: “It was funny. I laughed so much at it. I didn’t think he’d react like that but it’s still funny. I know I probably sound like a bad parent but it was too funny.

“He’s my child at the end of the day and if I think he can cope with it, then I’ll do it. He can cope with it. I gave birth to my child so I know my child. He was fine with it. He cried for a bit but he was fine after that.

“People are good at being keyboard warriors. I don’t mind a few negative comments though.

“I half expected these negative comments online. There have been some positive ones actually though. Some people just loved the picture.”

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