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To Lie, or Not to Lie? The Santa Claus Dilema

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posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 11:37 AM
Well, since it's that time of year again I thought I would see what the consensus, if any, there was about whether it is morally right to mislead children into believing in something that is false(a true physical being that travels from the North Pole to deliver presents to all the good children of the world). We have children and have raised them to believe in a Santa, but as they mature and become more aware everyday, and as we try to instill all of the good principles such as charity, thankfulness, and kindness(among other more traditional meanings of Christmas) I can't help but question why as parents we must portray such an elaborate ruse and quintessentially lying to them. Although we stress that anyone can be a "Santa" for someone else, and that Christmas has much more meaning than material possessions, are we not creating the foundation for our children's first realization of deception and by way of our actions justify lying. I am intentionally staying away from the Christian contradiction because many cultures celebrate the Christmas holiday aside from their personal religions, but I would rather focus on the impact(if any) teaching children to believe in something that they will eventually figure doesn't exist. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Mods: thought psychology was a fitting category, sorry if misplaced

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 11:55 AM
reply to post by Jnewell33

My wife and I have talked about this before. What we came to decide was that, since you're not trying to deceive the child with an evil intent, trying to deceive them to gain from it or something, it's really not a big deal. That, and it's a cultural thing and we see no harm in allowing our kids to participate in it, since we have no evil intent in talking about Santa.

Try telling a kid that Santa doesn't exist and then go to the mall around Christmas time.

Maybe this thought is only ours though.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:18 PM
There is a difference between lying, and 'make believe', kids have a right to make believe and pretend. And it helps them grow, and they deserve some years of ignorant bliss, before they have to see the world in all its awesome and scary glory. Christmas should be magical for them. We should all believe in Santa, in my opinion.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:25 PM
If I were to guess I would say atheism?
Not a lie a fib. That enables some great memories. I see absolutly nothing wrong in adding some tom foolery to the festivities. The first time the question comes up and you can see they are serious. then it's probably time for the truth. Before that please have fun. Merry Chritmas.

[edit on 4-12-2009 by randyvs]

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:31 PM
There must be something wrong with people that lie to children, especially their own. Another popular mental-illness among adults is to create fear in children to have better control. Presets and dogmas also tend to be imagination killers, but I guess thats ok, they are "just kids" who will know better when they grow up to be zombies.

What happened to Honesty, Love and Respect?


Lying to protect another from the harsh reality is denying the right to the complete emotional spectrum of human experience.

[edit on 4-12-2009 by FireBalls]

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:34 PM
reply to post by FireBalls

There must be something wrong with people that lie to children, especially their own. Another popular mental-illness among adults is to create fear in children to have better control. Presets and dogmas also tend to be imagniation killers, but I guess thats ok, they are "just kids" who will know better when they grow up to be zombies.

Ya I guess that's what happened to me huh.? I'd call this putting way to much on it.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:40 PM
so billy and susy have there immangery friends only they can see.
we as adults know it isent real they as children know it isent real.
immangery things are one of the manny ways the human mind deals with growing or stressfull things and as long as the immangery thing doesent become an abosession then no problem

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:40 PM
reply to post by randyvs

If you say so, I'm sure it takes a lot of effort to fabricate all those "great memories"
just my humble opinion

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:49 PM
Tell your kids the truth...they will appreciate it and thank you for it in the future. Unless you'd rather prefer that they find out the truth from someone else and lose their respect for you because you lied to them.

Not sure of your religion, but assuming that you're not Christian, to soften the blow, maybe you can let them know about the history of the celebration of winter and the spirit of giving and receiving gifts from loved ones. Maybe you can teach them that Santa Claus has become a modern symbol of that holiday in many cultures, but that there are lots of people who celebrate the season differently, or not at all.

There's nothing wrong with teaching our children to use their imaginations, but there is something inherently wrong with lying to our children about anything.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:54 PM
reply to post by Jnewell33

This is a question I have asked myself in the recent past, as well.

The reason I started questioning how harmful it might be, is because some families I know with young children are really struggling right now, and Christmas is going to be really rough.

I remember going to school after Christmas when I was young and really dreading the inevitable "what did you get for Christmas?"questions. At that time I knew about Santa, but what about children still young enough to believe?

How do children feel about themselves when they go to school and hear about the fabulous list of gifts some children receive from "Santa", if they didn't receive comparable gifts?

Fortunately, my youngest child is now almost thirteen and doesn't believe in Santa any more, so I don't have to make that decision for myself.

Looking back, though, I wish I would have realized at the time that it could be very confusing and hurtful for a child when they do find out, (my parents lied to me, what else are they telling me that isn't true) and sends a conflicting message to the child about some lies being "OK". I mean, lets be honest, for 6 or 7 years or so, we LIE to our children, while hopefully teaching them it's wrong to lie!

I don't have any grandchildren yet, and I have told all my adult children, that if I had to do it all over, I don't think I would teach my children the "Santa Lie", and I have suggested to them pretty strongly, don't do it to your children!

In this day and age, it may be easier (and a whole lot cheaper, lol!) to just skip the "Santa Lie". The more people who do it, the easier it will become.


posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 12:57 PM
reply to post by Jnewell33

It wouldn't be ats unless this topic came up.
And I think most parents agree that when they have some kids they are not going to abuse this. But after a long day at work when your kid starts giving you a hard time? Yea I did it. "You keep acting like that and your going to get coal in your stocking. Santa is watching."

Which prompted my husband to say: " You said you weren't going to do that."

But alas, it works.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 01:14 PM
I was just watching Bones the other night, and they had a quote from there that I think says it better than I could have:

Dr. Lance Sweets: No, no. Dr. Brennan, it's the feeling of Christmas. What people call the Christmas spirit. It's a kind of dream or hope we carry with us from childhood. But as adults... As adults we're imbued by the pragmatic routines of life, which makes it difficult for us to regard anything with childlike wonder. But, you know, it's alright for us to try. We put on silly hats, and drape trees with sparkly lights, and wrap gifts in garish paper, and that's good for us. It's not only alright for us to allow children the transient experience of innocence and joy, it's our responsibility.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 01:17 PM
OMG! You mean to say ''Santa isnt real''?

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 01:31 PM
reply to post by Jnewell33

My cousins were not allowed to believe in santa. When they grew up, they decided to have santa for their children. I suppose it depends on your beliefs. My children were raised with the santa tradition. Most of them figured out the truth before they were too old but they didn't admit it to the younger ones so they could still participate. To this day, I get presents from santa in my stocking and I'm 35. My children have never expressed resentment over the lying issue and in fact say it was a great part of their childhood.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 02:22 PM
All I can say is that my child's excitement about Santa is unmeasureable, and brings as much joy to me just to watch him.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 03:12 PM
Thanks for all the replies, provides a good spectrum of discussion. We will continue to encourage the excitement of Christmas and everything it has to offer no doubt but my better half and I are always questioning our steps well in advance to make sure we believe we are doing the best for our pack, and we figured what better place to see what others think than ATS. I guess in hindsight, as a child I seem to remember the kids that were very explicit in expressing their disbelief in Santa as a little detached from happiness. Maybe we all went through it I guess, I just have never had to look at it from a parents perspective. We all know our kids are a lot smarter than we give em credit for most of the time, but then again, they are just kids. Our kids usually start preparing their lists for Santa around September,lol, so they are really into to the season and we would like to keep it that way as long as we can.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 03:42 PM
There are answers, and then there are answers.

Accept no substitutes

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 05:44 PM
I was against lying to my child from day 1. My wife on the other hand wanted everything to be "normal". So we followed the herd and were normal.

When my daughter learned Santa was not real it hurt her... I mean emotionally and mentally hurt her... she knew then we had lied to her all those years even though I had always said being honest was the most important thing in life.

Now for 2 years I have been trying to not DO christmas. I am not a christian so I do not need to follow the ways of christians.

I am opposed to the media hype and hard sell tactics to force people into buying stuff no one really needs, or that few can afford these days. This has put me squarely Against the views of everyone I know.

Still, I will not be a hypocrite and follow the rituals of a limiting Belief-System, nor the support it has from the Business mindset of christmas being a great time for Consumerism.

Don't lie to your kids, ever. There is NO NEED for it.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 06:00 PM
IMO, We don't 'fib' to our children about Santa, I worked too hard to give the credit to some guy coming in our house (can you say stranger danger)? and leaving them stuff I didnt leave.
Why start lying?
You will have problems with in laws and others. My sons told their peers there was no santa.

posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 06:12 PM
Absolutely lie to them.

In fact, keep the lie going into their teen years and beyond, with the odd "from Santa" present under the tree every year, and swear up and down that it's not from you.

Leave them guessing, even after they're old enough to have it all figured out.

Why? Because kids need to feel like there's some magic in the world, even if there isn't.

And as we get older, we need to be reminded that it's up to us to make magic happen for other people.

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