From a young age, we are taught that lying is bad, and is considered as a sin in many religions. Then how come, parents outwardly lie to their children about the existence of Santa Claus. Pbs.org published an article that discussed whether it was okay for parents to lie to their children about Santa. In this post author, Laura Lewis Brown discusses five topics. The first issue she tackles is that the story of Santa is one of the many myths told to children to encourage them to behave. Dr. Benjamin Siegel, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine says, “What parents should assess is the values they are trying to impart and whether this myth encourages those morals.” Siegel points out that Santa, for many families, is one of these myths.
The second issue is the tradition. Brown talks about how for many families Santa goes beyond the present giving. For many families, the most exciting parts of Christmas are the traditions that precede it. For example, making cookies and setting them out on the 24th, searching through the window for a sleigh in the sky, or waking up super early to open presents. For many parents, the tale of Santa Claus holds many dear memories, which they hope through the story, they can create with their own families. However, parents also have to deal with the consequences of telling their children about Santa. Many parents fear that they will have to break the earth-shattering news to their children that Santa isn’t real. Surprisingly enough, many children by the age of seven or eight figure it out on their own. As seen in this video uploaded by WatchCut Video, many of the children already knew that Santa wasn’t real. On the other hand, there were also children who outright denied it when their parents told them Santa wasn’t real; saying that their parents were making it all up. In the article Siegel says that “Most kids do fine when they learn a myth is not real. Sometimes parents feel very badly because they want their kids to continue to believe in Santa Claus. Maybe parents like the myth because it makes them feel good, or because kids get disappointed in them when they find out the truth. Kids realize that parents aren’t so powerful, but that happens in adolescence anyway.”
Now that the band-aid has been ripped clean off, it’s time for the parents to deal with the aftermath. No matter the way children find out, they are sure to feel some disappointment. Siegel suggests, explaining that Santa is a part of Christmas and that the family celebrates Christmas and that’s what’s important. He recommends that parents remind children that just because Santa isn’t real, doesn’t mean the excitement of the holiday disappears. So in the end, whether it’s ethical to share the story of Santa is really up to the parents. Enjoying the holiday and the time with your family is what truly matters.
Being a fifteen-year-old high school student, I, thankfully, don’t have any children. Though I don’t think that I would tell my future children about Santa Claus. Even when I was very young I never wholeheartedly believed my parents when they told me Santa was real; for many years I pretended to believe for the sake of those around me. The reason I found it hard to have faith in his existence was because of how ridiculous his story was. As I grew older I never really understood how people believed that a fat, old, white man would sneak into people’s houses at night and would leave them presents. I couldn’t comprehend that he lived in the north pole and had mythical creatures create gifts for good girls and good boys. I honestly didn’t understand how he could fit all the world’s toys in a sack on the back of a sleigh flown by magical reindeer. As a child, I secretly found the whole preposterous, but I tried hard to believe because my parents told me so. Personally, at this age, I don’t think it’s right for parents to tell their children Santa is real just so that they behave. I feel that there are many other ways that the holiday can be enjoyed without this story, but what do I know I’m only fifteen. In the end, whether it’s ethical to share the story of Santa is really up to the parents. Enjoying the holiday and the time with your family is what truly matters.