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Stop Lying to Your Children about Santa, Psychologists Argue

Saturday, November 26, 2016 6:03
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© Stefan Wermuth

© Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

24 Nov, 2016

Psychologists are urging parents to tell the truth about Santa Claus or risk damaging their relationship with their children.

In an article published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, two psychologists criticize parents who use Santa Claus as a tool to control their children’s behavior.

Psychologist Professor Christopher Boyle and social scientist Dr. Kathy McKay also argue that the enduring myth risks leaving a child open to “abject disappointment” and undermining trust in parents when they discover the truth.

In the article, they argue: “If they [parents] are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?

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They also suggest that parents may be motivated by a selfish desire to re-live their own childhood, and not the wellbeing of their children.

McKay, who is also a clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Australia, takes a hardline on Father Christmas, as he is known in Britain and some former British colonies.

The Santa myth is such an involved lie, such a long-lasting one, between parents and children, that if a relationship is vulnerable, this may be the final straw. If parents can lie so convincingly and over such a long time, what else can they lie about?

There is potential for children to be harmed in these lies,” she said.

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Boyle, who was lead author of the report, says the morality of lying about Santa Claus must be questioned.

All children will eventually find out they’ve been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they’ve been told,” he said.

However, the University of Exeter psychologist admits that he will probably play along with the story if he has children of his own.

I’m not planning to go through the streets of Exeter dropping leaflets through doors,” he said.

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However, he is critical of parents using the specter of Santa Claus and presents to influence behavior.

Some parents use it as a tool of control when they’re under a bit of pressure in the lead-up to Christmas.

It’s potentially not the best parenting method. You’re talking about a mythical being deciding whether you’re getting presents or not,” he added.

The two authors conclude that adults may engage in the Santa Claus myth to escape from the drudgery of real life into fantasy.

Might it be the case that the harshness of real life requires the creation of something better, something to believe in, something to hope for in the future or to return to a long-lost childhood a long time ago in a galaxy far far away?” they ask.


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Published on Dec 8, 2014

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Total 9 comments
  • Man

    same effect can be created by replacing Santa with GOD

    • chefjim

      Most of us were raised to believe in santa claus and Jesus Christ at a young age. The story of Santa is one very crafty plan of Satan used in order to create doubt in young minds in the Truth of Jesus Christ. It is sublime and intentional but of little notice to well-intentioned parents across most of America and the Western world. Telling children that a fat, jolly MAN in a red suit with white hair and beard stops at every house in the country (world) landing on their roofs in a flying sleigh commandeered by 8 flying reindeer and carrying every material desire of every child in the world on that sleigh and coming down the chimney’s of every house in the world in one night AND telling them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that God was manifest in the Flesh of a MAN, died, was buried and rose on the third day, ALONG SIDE that lie, what do you think most children will do with the Truth when they find out the LIE of santa? They will disbelieve BOTH. Fast forward to adulthood. If parents of young children DON’T tell the lie of Santa to their children, THEY ARE LOOKED DOWN ON BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS because they are “ruining the FUN of Christmastime”. If adults tell others publicly that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is TRUE AND REAL, they are looked down and ridiculed by most people for believing fairy tales!

    • Morgana Le Fay

      Lol….funny, I was thinking the same thing.

      • Morgana Le Fay

        At least with Santa the kids only have to worry about getting a lump of coal instead of presents, in contrast to the prospect of burning in hell and being tortured for eternity—which is far more psychologically damaging.

        • Mayhem

          Anyone teaching their children about eternal punishment did not get the idea from scripture, Morgana, and you’ve been told this a few times now.

          The concept only exists in translation whereas the word of God describes punishment sufficient unto purpose.

  • Fokofpoes

    “Boyle, who was lead author of the report, says the morality of lying about Santa Claus must be questioned.”

    So should the lies permeating from psychology and psychiatry, or well, pretty much any of the supposed mental and moral authorities.

    “Might it be the case that the harshness of real life requires the creation of something better, something to believe in, something to hope for in the future or to return to a long-lost childhood a long time ago in a galaxy far far away?”

    That seems about right (and I don’t believe in Christmas).

  • Howard West

    When a person says “It is from Santa” it is given “Anonymously”

    Mat_6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms, GIFTS before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
    Mat_6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, GIFTS do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    Giving “Anonymously” is the Christian WAY! So IF you want to make “People think you are RICH (?) keep your money at Christmas! Me I do my Gift Giving “Anonymously” under the name Santa

    • Mayhem

      How dare you use scripture to justify Pagan practices…

      … and don’t kid yourself for it is Nimrod who receives your homage in lieu of the Sun that you worship. Santa Claus is a combination derived from the Roman Saturnalia festival and the doctrine of the Nicolaites which Jesus twice (Rev 2:6 & 15) rebuked.

      Here is a verse commonly used to justify X-mas gift giving…

      as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration. He wrote them to observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor. Esther 9:22

      … so is it food that you give? Also this verse doesn’t speak of the northern winter solstice but of Feb/March so it’s not even a fitting justification.

  • Uncle Thanky

    Indeed! There is not enough Truth in the world.

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