U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old Today, 01:50 PM
 
1,219 posts, read 715,444 times
Reputation: 3337

Advertisements

This is something I think a lot about every year. My wife and I have two children, ages 6 and 3 (close to 4).

To give a bit of background information in case it is useful, my wife and I are atheists. Despite that, we are very into celebrating many of the secular aspects of Christmas, because we love the family gatherings, decorations, traditions, music, etc. This is partially because I have a very close family and enjoy in sharing in these celebrations with them.

When our oldest child was born my wife and I debated on whether or not to perpetuate the Santa myth with him. At that time we decided to go with it because we thought it was fun, relatively harmless, and because his cousins, who he would be seeing often, have Santa in their household. Now that he is older, I regret that decision.

Our son absolutely loves Santa, and he is mesmerized by him. He gets incredibly excited to see him in the store, talk to him, and has a twinkle in his eye when he goes to sleep on Christmas Eve. Part of me finds this endearing, but another part of me feels incredibly guilty about it.

I have a few main concerns, some short term, and some long term. In the short term I am afraid that when my son realizes that Santa isn't real he will be crushed. What I find more concerning are my longer term worries. I'm afraid that perpetuating this myth will erode his trust in the people he should be able to trust most. I am also concerned that we may be damaging his critical thinking skills. It is our goal to raise children who are skeptical and rely on logic and reason to come to conclusions. I keep hoping to see our son debunk Santa by using those skills, but it hasn't happened yet!

My wife and I do not go out of our way to make Santa seem real. We don't do Elf on the Shelf, don't send letters from Santa, and we do not leave any tangible evidence that he visited other than gifts under the tree. When my son asks how Santa does this or that, we turn the question back on him and try to have him think through it. We never give a concrete answer. I was hoping this would be the year where he might come to the conclusion that Santa isn't real, but it doesn't appear to be the case. I very clearly remember coming to the realization on my own at his age, but I guess he isn't 100% his father's son.

I'm really hoping that by next year he is over it. I feel like if he is not by then, we may have to be proactive and figure out a way to let him down gently while still preserving trust. I didn't write much about his younger sister. She isn't nearly as enamored with Santa as he was at her age, right now I'm hoping she never is! I really wish we had told our children Santa was pretend from the beginning.

I'm sure others out there have faced a similar dilemma.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old Today, 02:11 PM
 
Location: NJ
583 posts, read 192,831 times
Reputation: 2172
Children are only children for so long, dont rush them growing up. My son "believed" for 9 years and one year he refused to tell us what he told santa he wanted to see if he still got it and figured it out himself. The others all heard from their friends or older siblings, all around 7 or 8. Dont spoil it for your children. Most kids who figure it out on their own dont have any feelings about it because its part of growing up. Maturity. After santa go the tooth fairy and make believe play. Santa has nothing to do with God or with religion or with trust or critical thinking. Its about imagination. You are teaching your children to think logically but you also need to nurture their imaginations
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
23,957 posts, read 15,452,628 times
Reputation: 34747
And my greatest fear about the Santa myth was that my kids might confuse him with God!

Honestly, you should not worry about this. Your son will soon be exposed to other kids who will disabuse him of his belief, or will debate whether their is a real Santa. Eventually he will ask about the multiplicity of Santas all over town. Your best response would be, “Well, what do you think?”

I do think it is wrong for parents to weave complicated tales about Santa, his all knowing self, his elf spy, his ability to transcend time and space. Let the kid believe, until he figures it out, and when he does congratulate him for doing so.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 02:38 PM
 
1,219 posts, read 715,444 times
Reputation: 3337
Quote:
Originally Posted by silibran View Post
I do think it is wrong for parents to weave complicated tales about Santa, his all knowing self, his elf spy, his ability to transcend time and space.
I'm with you there. We've never played into the "sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake" thing. To me it is just plain creepy. We also don't want to make our kids comfortable with the idea of some all-seeing, all-knowing authority figure.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Holly Springs, NC
1,435 posts, read 815,912 times
Reputation: 2231
I think you're really over-thinking it. You're projecting your life experience onto a child who has yet to live his. I don't think he will be crushed to find out Santa wasn't real. I cannot think of one single person I've ever met in the entirety of my life who was "crushed" when they found out. If anything people (myself included) appreciated the childhood memories it provided.

In a similar manner, I don't think the child is equating Santa to an all-seeing, all-knowing, god like figure. If that were the case you'd be dragging them to church (or whatever) on a weekly basis where they can be bashed over the head by the "good word" and constantly reminded that they're not worthy. This is not that scenario. It comes once per year, it's all in good fun, and as long as you continue to make it fun for them, they will enjoy it too.

In other words, just chill and have a good time, don't read too deeply into this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 03:02 PM
 
12,303 posts, read 4,922,504 times
Reputation: 30132
I think they need to know by the time they're about 5 that it's all a fun game.

I remember figuring it out when I was 4, sitting on "Santa's" lap, and he had an obvious fake beard. The whole thing shifted into sharp focus for me, I suddenly understood the whole thing, and I felt like I was now "in the know". I was on the side of those who knows the truth, and thinks it's fun, and keeps that truth from the littlest ones.

But I know others feel tricked.

And I'm greatly disturbed by parents who try to make the kids believe right up to the cusp of puberty. To me, that just separates a child from their own reasoning ability. They need to be allowed to figure this out, around 5 or younger, that it's all in fun. Like the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Texas
4,121 posts, read 3,497,567 times
Reputation: 7339
I agree with others that you're overthinking this OP. Your kid will figure it out on his own, or a peer will tell him sometime in the next couple of years. And I also agree that he won't be traumatized when he finds out. I do agree with you about not going overboard with actions and statements that perpetuate the myth in a somewhat proactive way like Elf on the Shelf, the "all seeing and knowing" Santa and the threats of the naughty and nice list etc. That's something we never did in our house (which is an Interfaith house, btw).

My youngest daughter is 9 and she figured it out last year, which was a couple of years later than I expected. Our oldest figured it out by the time she was 6. My husband, younger daughter and I were at a dinner at a very nice restaurant without our oldest daughter. It was December and our youngest said she wanted to talk to us about something, and then proceeded to disclose that she knew Santa wasn't real, and that she suspected for about a year, but wanted to keep acting like she believe to as to not hurt our feelings because she thought it was important to us. It was a very sweet discussion with a lot of teachable moments and is one of my favorite memories (so far) between my husband, myself and this particular daughter.

Last edited by Texas Ag 93; Today at 03:37 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
45,799 posts, read 44,071,358 times
Reputation: 89072
You're projecting adult worries onto your child.

I grew up believing in Santa, and it didn't take away any IQ points. The easiest way to transition an older child out of believing in Santa is to bring him in on the process of helping the younger sibling believe in Santa. It's really not going to harm him in the long run.

Do you not allow him to read ANY books about fantasy characters?

Just think of it as you would those.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Southwest Washington State
23,957 posts, read 15,452,628 times
Reputation: 34747
Quote:
Originally Posted by clawsondude View Post
I'm with you there. We've never played into the "sees you when you're sleeping, knows when you're awake" thing. To me it is just plain creepy. We also don't want to make our kids comfortable with the idea of some all-seeing, all-knowing authority figure.
Especially when Santa is not real.

Santa has been a fantasy figure for generations. I don’t think you are harming your son by allowing him to believe in this until he grows out of it. If he asks about Santa, I do think you should tell him the truth.

And when he learns the truth, you can teach him thoughtfulness about not telling other kids and his sister. Although when kids learn things like this, I am not sure they are able not to inform other kids. I had forgotten this until I heard our young grandson sharing all kinds of elementary school mythology he had heard at school.

And this is likely the way your son will learn about Santa.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old Today, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Austin
12,759 posts, read 7,295,309 times
Reputation: 14297
when public grade schools push discussions about homosexuality, gender identity, and sex on 7 year olds, a discussion about the fantasy of santa clauses seems tame.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Parenting
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top