Daily Archives: June 21, 2011

Telling The Truth About Fictional Characters

Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy all have one thing in common: they are the things we lie about.  I’m currently

debating if I’m going to be honest with my child with these fictional characters or lie about them.

Let me rewind back to my childhood.  Growing up, my parents decided to go with the lie method.  We were told about the three fictional characters, and honestly only two registered: Santa and Tooth Fairy.  My parents carried on the charade until I found out on my own (from a classmate) about them being indeed fake.

When confronting my parents about this, again, I was told a lie.  “Of course they are real!”  But in my mind, the damage has already begun.  Who do I believe, my parents–who would never lie to me, or my classmates who I’ve known since I was 5.  The classmates won that round.

Growing up, we were told to not lie, it wasn’t good.  Logically, I couldn’t understand if I was punished for lying, but my parents got away scott free (for years), then the system is rigged.  This of course made me question everything my parents told me (but really?  Who doesn’t?).

Fast forward now to my daughter.  I don’t want to lie to her, but I also don’t want to ruin the “fun” she could have while thinking that some big guy is going to break into our apartment and leave gifts (okay, so it doesn’t sound that great).  Here is a list of pro’s and con’s that I could think of while trying to make this decision.

Pros:

  • She can pretend that Santa and all the other characters exist.  Making holidays more “magical” for her.
  • We can all pretend that this world is an innocent place for children.

Cons:

  • I haven’t lied to her yet, why should I start now?
  • I remember being crushed when finding out the truth, why not avoid all of that?
  • Lying would destroy the honest building that I’m trying to do with her by leading by example.
  • Santa has as workshop and doesn’t need to earn money to buy things.  She wouldn’t know about financial responsibility.

Now, I have thought about telling her in a way that can allow her to still believe in them, but not take too much stock in the characters.  I can do this by explaining that those characters are no different from any of the other stories that we read and that during the holidays, people like to make those characters come to “life.”  In the end of course they are still characters.

Since its six month until Christmas, I know that I’m going to have to decide soon (she’s beginning to understand a lot of things).

What did you do?  Tell the truth about these characters, or pretended they existed?