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Is It Damaging For Parents To Lie To Kids About Santa?

flickr / U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

Your kid may know Santa as the fat man who brings them presents every Christmas, but to you and other parents he’s the dude who makes lying to children socially acceptable. To psychologist Christopher Boyle and mental health researcher Kathy McKay, this beard-faced lie is a harmful form of deception that can cause your youngster to question if Dad is even your real name.

According to these 2 Grinches, when parents deceive kids about Santa they run the risk of undermining their trust all together. “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,” Boyle and McKay write. (Presents typically help them get over it.) Plus, if you weren’t supposed to lie to your kid, why do they make it so damn easy? He’s in every mall! One thing they may have a point about is the concept of constant surveillance by an all-seeing old man with a “naughty or nice” list. That’s a bit creepy for kids to wrap their tiny brains around, but it’s also one that gets them to brush their teeth.

If your parents lied to you, and you avoided becoming a conspiracy theorist, it might seem unnecessary to wage war on Christmas. But another expert, author Dale McGowan, offers a more reasonable solution: Stop lying about Santa when your kid starts to question it. If you keep up the elaborate rouse past then (like say age 13 for example), you may run the risk of causing some problems down the road. But until then, keep exchanging red and white lies for cookies and milk.

[H/T] Science Daily