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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Ho, ho, oh, no

Oh, dear. First day back from vacation, and I'm gonna go all Scrooge on you.

You can kid yourself that encouraging your kids to believe in Santa Claus isn't really "lying," but don't kid yourself that you're not setting them up to be traumatized somewhere down the road.

"Reality will eventually out," wrote the columnist, Emily Yoffe, "but there’s so much reality in this life, that one of the delights of childhood, and of being a parent, is to spread a little fairy dust occasionally."

Later in the chat, though, another person wrote in saying that his or her parents kept the Santa thing going until the writer was nine, at which point this person found out and felt "incredibly embarrassed" that he or she had been "duped" for so long.

[. . .]

In studies for which she interviewed children, University of Texas psychologist Jacqueline Woolley noticed a drop-off in belief in Santa after the age of five. That's also when belief in the Tooth Fairy peaked, as well:

Five sounds a little young for the belief droppoff. Nine seems more like it, if memory serves, and I also remember being embarrassed, not to mention resentful of my parents, when the truth finally couldn't be denied any longer. I wouldn't go so far as to say parents shouldn't participate in the Santa myth with their kids -- that would probably just traumatize them immediately, because they'd be in a tiny minority among their peers.

But it's always seemed an odd ritual to me, going out of the way to make kids believe in something not true, knowing full well they'll learn of the lie later on in life. Jeez, they'll run into lies soon enough -- why start their lives with one in the home? On the other hand, maybe it's a good idea to drill into them that they shouldn't be so quick to dole out their trust.

The last straw: The story contains a warning: "This post contains spoilers about reality." Come on, now!