However, prepare to add another item to your list of “Things to stress about over Christmas” – should we be lying to our kids about the existence of the aforementioned bearded fat man (Santa, not the ageing hipster next door)? Or do such fibs mess our kids up later in life? According to a report by a bunch of psychiatrists, we should rob our kids of a large part of the wonder and magic of the festive season and tell our kids that Santa isn’t real.
The paper, “A wonderful lie”, in psychiatry journal the Lancet, states: “Morally, making children believe in myths such as this has to be questioned.
“Is the world so bad that we decide that it is better to spend around 10 years lying to children about a large jolly man who gives presents to all children with the help of mythical creatures, because it makes for more enjoyment at Christmas?
“Why should children question the parent who tells them to be careful touching a hot stove or crossing the road, when they tell them about a jolly man who apparently bends time and space to deliver presents to every child in the world at Christmas?
“If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?”
So, in nutshell, if you lie about Santa, your kids won’t trust you on anything else.
I remember when I found out that Santa wasn’t real. My dad left a note from Santa for me one year. A handwritten one. With no attempt to disguise the handwriting whatsoever. Yep, I was deflated. But did I think, “Hmmm, Dad also told me that knives are sharp. I better stick one in me to see if he was lying about that one, too”? No. Give kids some credit.
They’ll probably be disappointed for a while, sure. But they won’t hold it against you – for long. If you decide to break the news to your kids this year, try distracting them with lollies/toys/games/DVDs, etc, etc, etc. If you want to keep them believing for as long as possible, enjoy the look on their faces as they open these things from Santa.
They’ll find out one day that Santa isn’t real, whether from you or someone else. Perhaps you’d rather they heard the truth from you so they don’t crumple in a heap when the “mature” kid (aka the “know-it-all”) tells them at school.
I, for one, want to keep the myth of Santa alive for two reasons:
I’m sure bribing your kids is frowned upon too, but I’ve lost the paper that was written about that one…