Every year articles come out about how we're doing wrong by our kids by having them believe in Santa.
They won’t trust us.
We’re teaching our kids to lie.
We even have articles on YMC about it.
Money expert, Rubina Ahmed-Haq, says we are setting our kids up for financial failure by telling stories about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.
I don’t have expert in any of my titles. If I had a title it would be Mediocre Mom of Two Who Mostly Gets it Right but Sometimes, Out of Left Field, She Screws Up Completely.
What I do have are two boys, ages 15 and 12, who believed in Santa for years. In fact I was able to keep both of them believing in the white-bearded-present-giving-guy when almost all of their classmates were past that stage. That is, until I completely screwed it up one Christmas in an epic way (see my unofficial title above).
Earlier this week I sat down with them and asked straight out, “Do you trust me less because I lied to you about Santa?”
Both boys didn’t even bother to look up when they answered no simultaneously.
So I delved a little deeper and asked if they would have preferred to know all along there was no Santa.
This time I caught their attention.
My younger son was the first to pipe up, “But we would have missed out on all those years of excitement and fun. I’ll always have those memories.” We then spent a few minutes sharing those memories and laughing – even the memory of me screwing it up for them.
And then I pulled out the big guns.
“Have I ever done something that has eroded your trust in me?”
And the truth is, yes I have. They both gave me examples of when and what I did.
My younger son’s example was one I remembered in particular. I had been messaging with a friend because I was frustrated at something he had done and he found the messages. He felt betrayed that I had been talking about it with her behind his back and when it happened I knew I screwed up big time.
It was one of those moments when parents just know. We all have them throughout the years where deep down inside you know you messed up and you need to do everything in your power to fix it. I did my best but clearly this is something he will never forget. Nor will I.
I never had that feeling when my kids found out about Santa, not even when I held one of my sons in my arms while he cried.
And that’s the point I’m getting to.
I absolutely believe there are kids out there who will have their trust eroded when they learn the truth about Santa but this doesn’t hold true for all kids. Like in all matters of parenting, you know your children best. We all raise our kids in our own different ways. And quite frankly, we’re all screwing them up in our own little ways.
I’m okay with you not sharing these stories with your kids just don’t tell me that I’m wrecking mine because I don’t follow your philosophy.
I have two well-adjusted boys and 11 years of magic that say differently.