Hi everyone!

I have 2 great kids who are 9 and 6. They both still believe in Santa, the Easter bunny, and tooth fairy...well at least they say they do. I have doubts about my son (the 9 y.o.).


For a while now I have been feeling bad about keeping up the ruse. Every now and again they will ask questions and I just feel so guilty about brushing them off or outright lying to them. When they ask questions about other topics I never lie. I always answer their questions to the best of my abilities in a way they understand, but when it comes to these stupid traditions, I just can't seem to bring myself to tell the truth.


My husband has mentioned having similar feelings though we've never talked about if we should break the news to the kids or not.


What's your take? What did you do with your children, or what was your experience as a child? I know I believed as a kid, but I honestly can't remember when I found out the truth.


Should I answer their questions truthfully or keep it going until it runs it's course?

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My mom never really told me any of this stuff was real. She was raised Jewish so didn't grow up with the "Santa Claus" tradition but also she didn't feel right lying to us. I don't specifically remember her saying they're not real, although she must have.


And people think whoever breaks it to the kid, or never lied about it in the first place, is practically a child abuser! Some people are also scared to tell them, because "how can I inform them that Santa Claus is pretend, but not make them think the same about God?" hah!


Probably when you do feel like telling them, break it to them gently, by saying it's just a game people like to play by pretending these things, it's just for fun or something. Are kids actually traumatized and upset by this?

I don't think kids are traumatized by finding out the truth. At least I wasn't as I don't recall finding out. I just don't know if I should let them have the truth or just let them continue to hold these silly beliefs until they find out otherwise.
Here is an analogy of what a lie could be when you lie to someone for reasons of teaching about social responses.  Its called a fable.  In math terms it is Algebra.  One thing is there for another.
I'm thinking kids are probably angrier the older they are...

Do you think we would feel alot less embarrassed if the people who lied to us did not lie to us?  We feel embarrassed because we realize truth is what is is and the lie did not have to be a lie, therefore we mirror our guilt of disrespect of the lier to ourselves so that we do not feel like hurting that person who lied to us.  If the lie was told as a fable and the story was known to be fantasy then we do not set ourselves upto a fantacy as being real.  How can we protect ourselves if who we depend on is feeding us lies as truth?

  I was never raised to believe in Santa Claus and the like so I cannot speak to how the child would feel, and I have never raised my son with that belief either as I dislike lying to children if I can avoid doing so.  I am having a similar difficulty in trying to determine how to discuss god with him (he is 7). 

  His mother and I divorced 4 years ago and we share custody.  She is highly religious while I am obviously not.  She has apparently mentioned something of my lack of belief to him as he came out and asked me if I believed in god  a couple of weeks ago.  I did my best to answer honestly that I did not, and that of course led to other questions, etc.  I primarily just try to convey that he would have to decide for himself when he got older, and that I would love him no matter his decisions.  Ugh.

Wow, I think your story is one of the reasons I find it difficult to be in a relationship.  I am trying to find a way to be respectful to myself and others and not go through the same kind of heartache you are experiencing now.  Respect is the key though.  I believe as long as you do not try to make your child disrespect their other parent you will be ok.  Once you get into the whole she/he is wrong it is a whole different situation, I don't reccomend it.  Your kid will hopefully someday turn 18, that legal age that allow he or she to choose what they want socially.  Don't let them learn they cannot trust you or they will not be their for you later.  Telling your side of the story is truth and not disrespectful.  You will have to determine age appropriate truth, Santa is hardly one to worry about.

I'd say let them grow out of it or tell them when they're a wee bit older. I started having doubts about Santa around the time I started doubting God, around 13.
We told our kids, right from the beginning, that Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and all of that sort, were just imaginary characters created for fun. I didn't do that out of any passion to indoctrinate my kids into my philosophy. I did it because I did not want them to go through the inevitable realization that those fun characters were imaginary and that Mom and Dad would tell them things that were not true just to achieve some goal - even the goal of making them happy.
I think it worked! We still do not lie to our kids, even when it's embarrassing to us or disappoints them. The result is that they have learned to believe that what we tell them is the truth as best we know it, and not just meaningless parental homilies. So, when I said something like "LSD affects are unpredictable and often result in future irreparable damage" they believed me and (I think) stayed away. This is a rigid code and means that I can't say similar things about, say pot, or tell them that they're brighter or better looking then everyone else. I can't encourage them with empty flattery. That means I must work at finding areas where they do excel so I can encourage and support them.

When I hear parents complain that their kids ignore their advice, I think "that's because they've learned that you've been BS'ing them since birth by saying what you think is good for them, instead of what is true."
Exactly!  Good job good parent.

When my children were growing up I never did the Santa/Easter Bunny/Tooth Fairy thing. I figured it would be just as exciting if they knew whatever was coming from me and the now X. They never seemed to feel like they were missing anything. Although my reasons as the time were actually religious (I'm a former fundy) I would still do the same.


IMO, it's better not to start kids off on the unreality of those traditions. They are, IMO, no different than religion and the religious myths and superstitions taught by religion when children are indoctrinated into a particular belief. Although I expect relatively harmless on the whole as no one really believes them, it's better not to start them in on that magical thinking. The wonder and "magic" so to speak of the real world is far more exciting and exhilarating.


I think it might encourage a way of thinking that is not ultimately the way you want them to think as adults.

That doesn't mean no presents on Christmas morning or even an Easter basket if you are so inclined. We never did Easter baskets but we did do presents and a tree around Christmas so they would not be entirely out of sync with other children. There is also, as a atheist, the issue of celebrating traditions that arose out of religion. That would be an issue for me at this point in my life if I were doing it over.




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