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?
I taught the bible as literature for many years, and I often said the bible was "true"--only insofar as, in places, it reflects the true thinking and feeling of many humans over the centuries. But I also taught mythology and fiction (novels) the same way. Good literature reflects the human condition and is in that way "true."
Is there any better and briefer description of the dichotomies and struggles of human life than this from "Job"?
I wasn't angry or anyting when I found out, although I did not do a good job keeping the truth from my little brother. I actually started questioning religion as a result of Santa and the rest being lies, which isn't likely to happen here :).
I think if your nine-year-old asks directly, you should ask him what he thinks and why. My parents almost never answered a direct question about Santa and the rest; they always asked us what we thought and why. If the answers reveal that the game's up, though, you should come clean, especially if still believing could cause him to be teased or get angry with you.
I also think you need an explanation for why you've been lying so long. It could put you in a bad spot to admit to lying, because lying about one thing begs the question: what else have you lied about? My mom told me about little white lies, like not telling someone that they look bad or helping kids have "a magical childhood" versus big, bad lies that hurt people like letting someone else get in trouble for something you did. You could try that approach.
PS, my parents still would make the presents, eggs, and money "magically" appear while we were sleeping, so it was awesome even without the made-up stuff.
Consider the benefits and costs of the Santa Claus lie.
One benefit: it gets/extorts a few days of good behavior without whatever punishments parents use.
One cost: it wrecks the trust that kids have in their parents.
I'm eighty and still remember where I was and the sadness I felt when I realized that my parents had bought the presents.
That's interesting. Parents can use Santa as a way of ducking direct responsiblity for disciplining the child.
Instead of saying, "if you don't behave, we might not give you presents", you blame it on a magical person! Furthermore, since Santa's omniscient, the parent doesn't even have to take blame for tattling. The parent completely avoids being the "bad guy" in the relationship.
I can see how the myth is useful, but there must be more honest ways of doing it!
And when your child lies to you for your own good you will be totally okay with that? If you allow that it is okay for you to lie for someones own good, how can you argue that its not okay for your child, or your friends, or your husband, or say, the federal government to lie for your own good? What if people in a relationship disagree about what is good for themselves or each other? It isn't really the parents job to be the good guy, its their job to brainwash their child to accept societal norms, or counter culture norms in some cases, since a parent may pick their community and it may be separate from the mainstream culture.
I consider you somewhat naive if you think you can escape being the bad guy. It sounds very religious, to say that there are natural consequences to behavior. We are all atheists here no? There are consequences imposed by society to get people to conform to societies opinions of right and wrong. Whether its parents who are the police, or peers, or school or political authorities, someone is always the police. If you can fool a child into thinking that the timer has any power over them that you do not give it, as the parental authority, I consider them to be religiously manipulated. Because of the way their brain works, you have been able to create an association making the timer into an anthropomorphic object, which is identical to threatening a child with the wrath of god.