I was discussing raising children with a coworker of mine today and he said he thought it was wrong to tell kids that Santa was real. It’s not the first time I’ve heard it but then he went on to explain that he thinks it hurts the trust factor we try so hard to build with our children.
For example, when your kid runs to you scared because he or she thinks there is a monster under the bed, some parents will make a show of looking and eventually tell them that there is no such thing as monsters. They’re safe. Nothing to worry about. Monsters are just make-believe.
But hey, there’s a flying little person that will put money under your pillow if you place your baby teeth there. That’s totally real.
Or there is a magic dude in red with magical reindeer who will drop presents under your tree at Christmas if you’re a good boy or girl, but monsters…hell no! They’re fake as fake can be!
To be honest, it made me wonder about our penchant to lie to our kids. It might be what we consider a harmless lie or a lie that leads to great fun (some of my fondest memories as a kid were of Christmas morning) but they’re lies nevertheless. I couldn’t come up with an argument to refute my coworker, even though a part of me wanted to tell him he was wrong; that telling these small fibs were forgivable – but deep down inside, I think he was right.
We try our best to foster trust in our children, but we often tell them fibs merely because we were told those same fibs when we were children. We tell ourselves we didn’t mind, but the truth of the matter is I don’t know if I mind. I wasn’t given a choice at the time. Would Christmas have been just as enjoyable if I knew it was my parents who had given me those presents?
Probably. I think so. In fact, I might have appreciated them more because it was the people I loved who had given me those presents and not some far away man in red. I really had no connection to Santa. I was just glad he was giving out free gifts.
Would Easter have been any less special if the magic bunny wasn’t given credit for the chocolate that appeared on the kitchen table?
I think Easter would have survived just fine. I’d still get the chocolate and be able to thank the real people in my life who had made it happen.
So I guess I’m leaning towards thinking that it’s unethical to tell our children these types of lies, even if we do it with good intentions.
If not, feel free to change my mind and thanks for reading!