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?
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.
Brainwashing is the forceful change of a persons beliefs to another set of beliefs. Explain to me how what you do is different than brainwashing. You may be hung up on the colloquial understanding of brainwashing. Also, there is no such thing as a free thinker. You are definitely giving off religious vibes here. Humans are computers, they run on a program, DNA. Humans react to a given situation based on previous external input they received, consequences. What choice a human makes in a given situation is based on the weight assigned by evolution and experience to the various variables involved. An example:
Shots hurt, I want to avoid them as a child. After all who likes pain. But I am told that they will prevent a greater harm. If I can trust my parents, and believe them when they say this, I accept getting a shot with minimal physical coercion. If I have been given a reason not to trust my parent, whatever it may be, and depending on how strong it is, I will require more physical coercion.
Making a mess and therefore being unable to find something, is totally different than wanting to play video games, and being told you have to go to sleep. The natural course would be that you continue to play video games, and suffer the next day when you must wake up for school. This is a natural consequence in our closed system, a family, because school is mandatory based on a greater authority than the parent, society/government. If the timer goes off and the child doesn't stop, what exactly do you imagine the natural consequence to be? Hint: there isn't one. The timer going off means that you, the parent, are going to force them to stop, not that some impersonal force will impose a negative sanction.
My childhood is more recent than yours. And I know why the kid follows the timer, even if you are too old to remember. You previously established the timer as an unmoving rule. You may have used the timer in some other area, which would explain your child following the rule of the timer the first time you applied it to video games. That doesn't mean you aren't the bad guy. That means you successfully internalized the power of the timer previously. If your child did not stop the first time the timer went off, its unlikely that you just sat there and let him defy you, because he is defying you, and not the timer. Sorry. If in the specific instance of video games, he did defy you the first time, you punished him. Eventually he internalized the idea that you would not allow him to defy you in regards to the timer, and he followed the rule of the dings. The timer does not make you not the bad guy. It just means you successfully brainwashed your child, as all good parents do and should, to understand that there was a limit to his video game playing time.
In fact there is no neutral third party, the party is the child's eventual internal acceptance of the timer indicating that he will, with no deviation, receive a punishment for violating the rule of the timer. You were the bad guy when you established the power of the timer, as a symbol of your authority. You are now not the bad guy because there is no bad guy. Further if your child attacks the timer, he is still attacking you, and your authority, symbolically. When I burn a flag, or smash a timer, I am not blaming the flag for my oppression, I am blaming what it represents, my government.
Its not what you write and what I read that is at odds, its what you think, that the timer becomes the bad guy, it doesn't, and what actually happens, that there is no bad guy because your child has been brainwashed to accept that he has other things he needs to do besides play video games.
Hope this clears things up!
My kids believe in Santa and the Tooth fairy. I'm think they're faking it about the Easter Bunny to get candy though. It's fun. It's harmless. Someday other kids will tell them "the truth" just like they did me. I was not especially traumatized over it. The Tooth Fairy didn't bother me at all.
Santa is the spirit of giving and love. And that is very real. The Tooth Fairy is probably some old pagan tradition that has lived on despite changes in management (i.e. religion). Terry Pratchett said it best in Hogfather. Hogfather (Santa) is the little lie that allows us to believe in the big lies like justice and mercy.
There is so little magic and wonder in modern life. Why not let kids have a little for a little while? It's a given kids are going to grow out of it. I think more parents are sad when their kids quit believing in Santa than kids are sad Santa isn't an actual person. I've known many parents to have a good cry when Santa finally left the building for good. It's certainly a sign a child is growing up and leaving the things of childhood behind.
Naturally, it is an individual choice which every parent must make for themselves. There's no right or wrong answer here.
Dont worry about how your kids might tell others the truth, just also teach them about respect and saftey along with the truth. I am a teacher and when kids ask me about it I say you will need to ask your parents about that. Kids who upset other kids just need to learn how upsetting others on purpose is disrespectful. No kid will be able to forsee what all their truths or beliefs will do to others yet if they know they are disturbing another they also need to know what to do about it.
I just recommend being honest. Yes they might be ticked, or they just very well might not care. My mother and grandmother did not even tell me Santa or the Easter Bunny existed. Their reasoning was "Jesus is important so lying to a kid about imaginary beings is setting them up to not believe you"
They didn't know how right they were >.>
When I have kids, I am going to teach it as a family plus history thing. I'm not even going to try and say santa claus to my imaginary kids because I'll start laughing.