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I Refuse to Let My Kid Believe in Santa

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Guest Blogger Grinchmommy: Do you let your children believe in Santa Claus? If so, SHAME ON YOU!

girl telling a secret about santa

One of parents' primary responsibilities is to teach their children to be honest and truthful individuals, something that is a little hard to enforce when you insist on the existence of a mythical creature with pet reindeer.

Allowing your kids believe in someone that doesn't exist not only sets them up for disappointment when they learn the truth, but it also sets you up to look like an untrustworthy liar. What sane, rational parent wants that? Not me! That's why I unveiled Santa's identity to my then two year-old daughter the first time she cast a curious eye toward the throned snow beast sitting inside the candy cane cottage at the local mall.

Now, at age six, my daughter is the only child in her kindergarten class who knows the truth about Santa. This didn't pose any problems ... until my daughter started enlightening her classmates. When reports trickled home that some of my daughter's classmates had taken the revelation particularly hard -- they cried -- I'm not ashamed to say that I didn't feel an ounce of guilt or regret. It's not my fault that some parents foster preposterous fantasies and it is definitely not my responsibility to protect them.

Another reason why Santa's identity should be unveiled once and for all has nothing to do with the poor rich kids whose dreams of flying reindeer and friendly elves are prematurely quashed, and everything to do with all of the unfortunate children in the world whom Santa routinely "forgets." It is simply cruel to coddle belief in a figure who purports to know every child by name, yet is discriminate in his gift-giving, showering some children's homes while skipping over others. While no one likes to be the source of his/her child's disappointment, it is far better in this case for the parent to take the blame for the absence of gifts on Christmas morning than St. Nick. As humans, we are subject to weaknesses, inadequacies, and failings that our child will eventually understand and overcome. Such understanding and acceptance may not be as easily earned from a figure who falls short of his promise to deliver a special gift to EVERY good girl and boy.

What do you think? Comment in the momlogic community.

next: Are Some Sports Too Risky For Kids?
118 comments so far | Post a comment now
Been there December 8, 2008, 3:09 PM

I so understand! My husband and I are honest with our children and even learned (are learning) about the real St. Nicholas. Our 5 year old son also *enlightened* some of his classmates, but the teacher took over and “fixed” everything. He is no longer aloud to talk about Christmas in the classroom. I’m not sure that is the correct “fix”. We just encourage him to keep seeking the truth and let those who wish to live in their own reality. He is not resposible for what they believe, only what he does and how he convays that information. Keep up the great work.

Tasha December 8, 2008, 3:45 PM

Well, I don’t know. I believed in Santa when I was a kid, and eventually stopped believing. It was no great or sudden surprise for me, since I found out for myself, and it was gradual. And now that I’m an adult, I realize that it’s just something kids do, believe in Santa. I never thought my mom was lying to me.

When you’re an adult and reflect back on having once believed in Santa, it’s a cherished, harmless childhood memory. I’d hate to say I never believed in Santa.

(Plus, the card making industry would be out of the biz if everyone became “enlightened”!)

Kate December 8, 2008, 3:49 PM

Jana, congratulations on criticizing moms everywhere who like to cling to a little bit of innocence in their children. Shame on you for telling us how to parent our children! Did you also “enlighten” your kindergartener on how babies are made so that she can share the joy of sex with her classmates? I mean, you don’t want to lie to her about that either, do you? It’s not fair for you to criticize my parenting skills just as it is unfair of me to make hasty generalizations about your parenting techniques. Thanks again, Momlogic! This was my first time back in weeks, but it’s just another reminder why I don’t need in my life the negativity that is posted here daily. Ta ta!

YouReallyAreMean December 8, 2008, 4:05 PM

I was in a situation like this with a miltary family group of which I was the President. A mom announced to the planning committee of the children’s holiday party that her children would *enlighten* all the other children if we had Santa Clause present. Keep in mind we were planning a very diversified activity which would offer opportunities for those of different beliefs/religions to participate and enjoy themsleves and it was set up in such a way that you could decide what you want to participate in. Honestly I found this offensive that she would feel that this would be acceptable as obviously you do!!! I believe that everyone has a right to believe in what they choose as long as it doesn’t harm someone else. Why do you and your children feel that you have the right to push your practices and beliefs on others anymore than my family should push ours on your children? Why don’t you teach your children that it is sensitive to allow others to believe as they wish? You really are MEAN and it sounds like your children are falling right in line. You should be very proud!!! Maybe if you had a little Santa in your life you wouldn’t be such a nasty person. Got Santa?

chris December 8, 2008, 4:06 PM

I completely agree with Kate. I see nothing wrong with having my kids believe in Santa. When my now 13 son stop believing in Santa, we explained that Santa is not a “person” but the spirit of the holiday and that every person has the chance to be “Santa” to the people in their lives. The way I see it is that kids today grow up way too fast and learn about many subjects (drugs, sex, volience etc) much earlier than I did so what wrong with giving them something good to believe in. I also think that you have every right to teach your children anything that you want to but please don’t have your child ruin it for my child. You need to have a sit down talk with your child and tell them that this is information that they need to keep to them selves.

Emma December 8, 2008, 4:06 PM

I completely agree. I will not be telling my children that there is a Santa because guess what? there isn’t one!!!! And if those parents were particularly worried about their children taking the news so hard well then maybe they shouldn’t be lying to them should they?

Maria December 8, 2008, 4:32 PM

My parents raised me to know that Santa wasn’t real. They had no intention of misleading me, they wanted my trust. I never felt as though I were missing out on the Christmas spirit. In fact, I appreciated my gifts so much more, knowing that my parents (and not some weird old man) had chosen them for me. I am so grateful that my parents raised me with honesty, instead of lies. I fully intend to do the same with my children.

Kara December 8, 2008, 4:36 PM

When did a little childhood magic hurt anyone? Kids are growing up way too quickly, let them be innnocent children for a while longer please!

Santa December 8, 2008, 4:37 PM

Still not over that coal in your stocking, huh?

Mom of five angels December 8, 2008, 5:14 PM

Wow you go straight to the top of Santa’s naughty list. Santa or Not Santa is the least concerning part of this article. The thing that I find the most scary about your article is the fact you take pleasure from your children hurting someone else. Think about that! You are sick!!! Most mothers when they see a crying child want to lend comfort not bask in delight. Honestly you should seek professional help. Boy would I love to be one of those classmates parents!!! Frankly from what I’ve read you are a horrible parent and should spend less time casting stones and more time worrying about the selfish children you are turning out into the world. Momlogic should get rid of you because you are a sad excuse of a Mother!

Anonymous December 8, 2008, 5:17 PM

My husband and I don’t plan on letting our daughter believe in Santa. I find the belief takes away from the true meaning and happenstance, but I am strongly against ruining that belief and innocence in others. It does pose certain benefits as one poster stated, concerning the spirit of the holiday and it is not my or my childs place to “enlighten” anyone. Who are you or your children to take away something so cherished to young children? It’s your choice that you don’t foster the belief with your kids, it’s our choice on what we do with ours, no one has any right to impose their own beliefs on us. To those who foster the belief, great, to those who don’t, great. To each their own.

Deanna December 8, 2008, 5:21 PM

Guess you better tell them they only had one birhtday too, so they won’t be celebrating that anymore, because telling them that it is their birthday every year is a lie too!!! You and your children do not have the right to ruin fun for everyone, keep it all for yourselves. If you want to take the fun of fairytales and fantasy awayfrom your children, that is your right, but you should at least instill in them that others do have the right to fairytales and fantasy, and they should be taught to respect the rights of others.

Wow December 8, 2008, 5:29 PM

Your children should be taught to respect the rights of others! Is it that you don’t respect other people so you fail to have the ability to teach your children to do so? Here is another case of rude children who will become rude adults just like their Mother. You should be proud! Lets give her a hand for makng the World a better place!!!

Diane December 8, 2008, 6:14 PM

I totally agree Deanna. Part of the magic of Christmas for us no matter how lean the times are is that Santa is coming and bringing that special something that the kids have really wanted. We also push the fact that santa (as a person) is a state of mind, and we should always carry a little santa in our hearts through out the year.

shannon December 8, 2008, 6:29 PM

You know, everyone has a right to parent as they see fit, unless it boils down to abuse. Well, allowing a child to believe in Santa or the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny I wouldn’t qualify as abuse. Is it dishonest? Yes, I guess it it. But it creates a magical moment for everyone in the family. To see your child tuck his tooth under the pillow with a little note for the tooth fairy, and then the smiles, wide eyes, and giggles that result when he sees what the tooth fairy left is amazing. Children will eventually discover it is their parents pulling the strings. Is there a bit of guilt at being deceptive? Sure. But it’s a magical time in their lives and it brings so much joy, that I take that with me rather than the guilt. I don’t think any of us has been irreparably harmed by this childhood fantasy, and compared to everything else that’s out there, why not let them believe in magic for a little while? If you don’t agree, then fine BUT you should make sure your children keep this knowledge to themselves so they don’t spoil it for everyone. I caution both my children about sensitive discussions. I tell them other parents don’t want their children to know certain things and which conversations to keep private. So, the harsh words are really unnecessary. They are just divisive, critical, and offer nothing positive to a community of women that should be propping each other up and offering information in a helpful way.

concerned December 8, 2008, 6:44 PM

Santa isn’t about the same things to all people - and that is something you ought to keep in mind. You say Santa is a mythical figure, and in a certain sense that is true, but Santa is also about faith, childlike innocence, magic, and is often used in families as metaphor to aid small children in understanding the tenants of Christianity. Who are you to instruct your child that there can not be diversity of faith.

If the child’s classmate’s have been taught to believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Judaism, redemption through serenity or plain old garden variety Christianity - it is hardly “enlightening” them to contradict it. I’m sure you, and your child will encounter more outlandish ideals in your lifetime than a jolly fat man who defies the laws of physics to deliver Christmas cheer to the world.

Do you have definitive proof that there is no Santa Clause? Do you hold exclusive rights to ultimate “TRUTH” - I rather think not.

The lesson you need to teach your child, and it sounds as if you need to learn yourself, is to appreciate the various ways of viewing the universe.

For some people Santa is about having faith in humanity, and in the Universe. That my look like “magic” and “fantasy” to you, but that is only YOUR perspective.

Stop teaching your kid its OK to make other people cry and that if their belief is different, that it is wrong.

Jana December 8, 2008, 6:53 PM

YOU ARE EVIL. Who are you to take the magic of childhood and cruelly dash it upon the rock of reality?

Anonymous December 8, 2008, 6:56 PM

Why are you soooo mean??? Did Santa disappoint you as a little girl? And for all of you out there who say its dishonest and you would never lie to your children…well, when you and hubby go and lock the door for alittle kooky, I suppose you tell your little ones that yes “Mom and Dad will be back soon but for now we’re going in our room to have sex” because I’m sure you already explained all the facts of life to them when they asked the simply question (like ALL kids do around 5 or 6) about baby and how they come out of mommys tummy. I hope that you are alway just as honest with your kids…I can’t wait until they ask you if you’ve ever tried drugs or drank underage or had sex when you were teenagers. There are many many things that I did in my younger years that I hope my children never know that “truth” about but I guess no matter what your children ask, you will always tell the truth. Good luck with that!

Just Me December 8, 2008, 7:24 PM

Good heavens, people. The author is neither evil nor sick. She is a mom with a strong opinion. Disagree with her all you want. I do. (Except for the part about Santa appearing to be “unfair” when it comes to less fortunate children. THAT angle of the article is a valid observation…and worthy of further discussion…for sure!) But why resort to placing such hateful lables on a perfect stranger based on one aspect of her life? Frankly, THAT comes across as far more “sick” & “evil” than anything she expressed in her writing.

HIRH December 8, 2008, 7:26 PM

Glad I’m not the only one explaining the truth to my children. “Ta-ta” seriously?!?! Your child is going to have some hard life lessons when people tell them “No!” I also don’t propogate the belief in God in my household… if my kid tells your kid there is not God… and causes them to ask some hard questions, I dont see that as a bad thing.

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