Lying To Children About Santa Claus Could Destabilize The Trust In Parent-Child Relationship, Study Says
Santa might have a role during Christmas season as he is known for giving gifts to children all around the globe riding on his sled. Parents would probably tell their children, "Santa will give you a gift this Christmas, so you better watch out!" On the other hand, a recent study reveals that lying about Santa Claus to children could do more harm than good.
The study was printed in the Lancet Psychiatry. It was led by Christopher Boyle, a psychologist from the University of Exeter, U.K., and Kathy McKay, a mental health researcher from the University of New England in Australia. The team said that if the parents can lie about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?
They explained that this undermines the trust in the parent-child relationship. "All children will eventually find out they have been consistently lied to for years and this might make them wonder what other lies they have been told."
Professor Boyle defended this claim and wrote an essay titled A Wonderful Lie. He said that the morality of making children believe in such myths must be questioned. He further said that it is also interesting to ask whether lying in this way will affect children in ways that have not been considered.
So, is Santa real? This would be the question that a child will ask sometimes in his life. Parents must be ready to answer this question when the time comes that their child finally knows the truth.
Professor Boyle said that the point is that it is based on a myth, it is based on a lie. He also emphasized that his essay was not based on his observation of patients but was rather theoretical, according to Mail Online.
The team also question the idea that Santa and his helpers know what each child has been doing or he is naughty or nice. They said that this norm is terrifying. Professor Boyle said that the morality of making children believe in such myths must be questioned, as noted by The Huffington Post.
These views confirm the analyses of Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist from Oxford University and criticized parents for reading fairy tales to their children. He wrote the controversial book, The God Delusion. He also claimed that he was just 21 months when he saw the myth of Santa.
In his speech two years ago, he questioned the fantasies of childhood as magical as they are. He asked the parents, "should we be fostering a spirit of skepticism?" He further said that he thinks it is rather pernicious to inculcate into a child view of the world that includes supernaturalism in which he stressed that people get enough of that anyway.