Santa Claus: True or Lie?

When they asked me how I found out that Santa Claus does not exist, I could only recall the moment I realized that my parents were lying about it and how I felt about it. Do I feel bad about it now? No. Did it have any impact on my development? Yes. The short answer is no when I’m asked if parents should lie to their children about Santa Claus. However, let’s unravel how we reached that answer. 

If you believe that your child will not remember the lies you tell it for whatever reason, then, you are mistaken Research shows that children will follow their parents’ steps and mimic those mechanisms. If we take a closer look at our target audience, the children, we see that their survival skill is to assimilate as much as possible from all the resources that they trust in order to navigate through their environment. One of their resources is usually their parents.

Let’s take a common scenario where a parent lies to his/her child. I say common since a study showed that 84% of US parents lie to their children to manipulate them. Adding to this, parents use lies to make their children comply with their wishes. More specifically, parents would threaten to leave their child if the child refuses to follow the parent. Once their children realize that the parent had lied, then, they would tend to trust those adults less.

Lying to your child is not recommended as the child learns to lie. This negatively impacts the relationship between the adult parent and the child. It’s not about the Santa Claus lie, it is about lying itself since the children will learn to build their lives based on the reality and assumptions of the lies that they are told. Be mindful when you communicate with your child. Your child does not need a perfect parent, but a genuine one, and there is a way to communicate it. If you need help in doing so, a mental health professional and other resources are recommended. 

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