Northwest Missourian Opinion

People will argue that parents should never lie to their children about anything, not even when it comes to Santa Claus. I believe children are better off experiencing all of the “magic” of Christmas and the mysteries it brings.

While usually lying to children is not something to be praised, there is an exception when it comes to stimulating their imagination and reinforcing the saying “believing without seeing.”

Children believe in legends purely and wholeheartedly with the help of adults.

They’re the ones who leave money for children under their pillow, hide plastic eggs with sweet treats inside and put gifts under Christmas trees. They are the childhood dreams and traditions parents uphold for the sake of their child known as the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa.

Good old Saint Nicholas is there to guide children to be nice to others around them while also encouraging them to seek out the truth behind his miraculous works and deliveries around the world in one night.

For many adults, some of their fondest childhood memories revolved around various celebrations and events.

The fantasy of a large, pot-bellied man with rosy cheeks and a snow-white beard provides many children with memories full of laughter, excitement and anticipation.

Even though Santa and other select myths are lies, they are never done maliciously and for most children, they don’t really have a negative reaction to the harmless lie and never really lose their trust for their parents.

According to Vanessa LoBue, associate professor of psychology at Rutgers University-Newark, on average, children learn the truth behind Santa around seven years old. For most of them, when they found out, rather than being devastated by the secret, they took it generally well.

Children are always developing, and eventually, they’ll get past the stage where their sources of information expand beyond the authority of parents.

The Santa ruse is not simply for children either, it is often times fun for parents to participate in.

According to “Child Psychiatry and Human Development,” a study was done on how children reacted to learning the truth about Santa along with parent’s reactions. Through an interview and questionnaire, it was found that children had relatively positive reactions while parents generally were sad their children no longer believed.

To deny children this simple pleasure can also keep parents from enjoying certain aspects of being a parent.

For many, Santa can bring that extra magic families need for the winter season.

The idea of Santa becomes a conduit for many children to develop their sense of reality, a taste of curiosity and wonderment.

This not only goes for Santa, but all other childhood myths parents and children look forward to.

Having good food, merry times with family members and possibly celebrating various aspects of their religious beliefs is the essence of the Christmas spirit. This includes the jolly old man with a hearty laugh and a bellowing, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

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