When people first read the heading of this article there will be a group of people who instantly defend Santa and his magical world of flying sleighs and reindeers. There are others who will argue that it is wrong to lie to your children, even if it is only for fun. In this article I am going to present both arguments and let you make up your own mind...
It is RIGHT to lie to your children about the existence of Santa
There are some parents who think it is completely natural to lie to their children about the existence of Santa. Parents argue that the Santa story is innocent and magical and that children should be kept as children for as long as possible. If believing in this make-believe character makes them happy then why should it be taken away from them? For some Christmas is only Christmas when there is a Santa Claus. Parents love the role they play in the Santa story and enjoy how excited it makes their children. The Santa story brings satisfaction to both the parent and the child.
Studies from the USA and Canada have shown that most children know all about Santa Claus. Children know who he is and what he does and how he travels around the world in one night in his big sleigh. Children do not view him as a real person. They just like the idea of all the things he can do. Only a very small percentage of children believed in Santa from ages 8-11. The majority of children worked out or were told he was not real by the age of 7. When children did find out that Santa was not real many of them reacted positively. They felt proud and happy to have worked out the truth. It made them feel clever.
This type of reaction could be based on their experiences with Santa and how he has been portrayed. If Santa represents all the positive and good aspects of people such as being happy, good and generous then believing in Santa could be an enjoyable experience for a child. In a small way it can teach them that it is good to have these qualities and they should strive to obtain them themselves.
By telling children that Santa is not real can throw up difficulties for children. It is likely most children will come into contact with children who do believe in Santa. Their parents may tell them not to tell the other children that Santa is not real, therefore encouraging deception. Parents may find it easier to tell their children that Santa is real to fit in amongst other children.
It is WRONG to lie to your children about the existence of Santa
Since from an early age children are told the "story" of Santa and how he can travel the world and all the elves make the presents. Parents usually defend the existence of Santa by arguing that it is only a story. There is a difference between telling a story and telling a lie. Parents tell their children stories all the time and children know that its fiction. Children are able to understand pretence. The pretence of stories makes it fun but telling children Santa is real is a lie.
Children trust their parents and believe what their parents tell them is the truth. If children discover their parents have lied to them they may lose faith and trust in their parents. If a child finds out the one person they can rely on had lied and deceived them then it may have an impact on them. Children may begin to question everything else their parents may have told them, doubt their parents and possibly other close relationships around them. Finding out that Santa is not real sends out mixed messages to a child. Children are always told never to lie and always to tell the truth and yet their guide and role model in life has lied to them from a very young age. Children may find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between telling the truth and telling lies.
Parents can argue that its tradition to tell their children about Santa, their parents told them and the parents are passing it down to the next generation. Parents argue that its tradition. Tradition also includes all the family being together, sharing presents with one another and showing how much people mean to you. The existence of Santa does not emphasize any of this and so why should he even be involved at Christmas? It is not Santa who brings families together at Christmas time it is about sharing a special day with the people who mean the most to you.
To conclude, there are two sides to the argument. Some parents believe that it is acceptable to lie to their children about the existence of Santa. It is magical and innocent story that children love. It is causing no harm and makes Christmas an extra special time of the year. In contrast some parents believe that is not acceptable to lie to their children about the existence of Santa. Parents argue that by lying to their children it will affect their relationships together in the long-term. Parents further emphasise that Christmas is all about the family being together and sharing presents with one another and not about Santa bringing presents to good boys and girls. There are no right or wrong answers to the argument. Whether you tell your children the story of Santa is all down to personal choice.
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