Advertisements

When Do I Admit That the Tooth Fairy Doesn’t Exist?

I read a brilliant article in The National about the lies we tell our children and when is the right time to confess that the Easter Bunny they are so fond of isn’t real.

Below is just an excerpt of the article.  I strongly encourage you to read the entire piece by following this link.

The world is a confusing place for small children, particularly as they only learn to distinguish between reality and fantasy between the ages of three and five. Jacqueline Woolley, a psychology professor at the University of Texas in the US, found that by the age of four, children learn to use the context in which new information is presented to distinguish between fact and fiction. So, before long, your little one will be figuring out that the tooth fairy isn’t who you said she is. Which begs the question: at what age should we tell our children that their beloved magical characters aren’t real? Or, should we even claim that they’re real in the first place?

Last Christmas I witnessed the most heated debate I’d ever come across on Facebook. It didn’t involve politics, religion or money. No; it was Santa Claus who caused the divide. One friend posed the question: “Should I tell Sophie Father Christmas is real?” What followed was a polarised debate between those who wanted their children to enjoy a magical gift-giving time and those who believed that perpetuating the story of Santa was being dishonest with their offspring. “I was devastated when I found out it was my mum, not Santa, who hung the stocking on the end of my bed,” admitted one father. Whereas others regretted never having the chance to believe in Santa because older siblings had spoilt it for them.

“I make a point of always being honest with my daughter and now she has turned six I’m feeling increasingly uncomfortable with perpetuating the lie of Santa Claus,” admitted Rosie Cuffley, a mother of two.

According to Carmen Benton, a parenting educator and educational consultant at LifeWorks, Dubai, Rosie shouldn’t worry. “Sharing the world of fantasy characters with our children is not a lie, but rather a playful way of storytelling and connecting as a family to fun events. Think about the joy and excitement that thoughts of characters such as Santa Claus can induce. You have the power to create a magical world of dreams, wishes and storytelling for your kids and I believe these are part of being a playful parent.”

It’s a different scenario when children ask directly whether Santa Claus, for example, is real. Most psychologists agree that children need to know they can trust their parents to tell them the truth, even about magical characters. “The majority of children will let go of a fantasy after the age of eight, and most would be happy for the years of the imaginary world they had been able to enjoy,” says Benton.

I feel terrible that my daughter still believes in the Tooth Fairy.  I don’t like perpetuating a lie (especially one I know will be uncovered sometime soon).  I have a feeling, irrational or otherwise, that when she does find out, her first thought will be, “What else is he lying to me about?”

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “When Do I Admit That the Tooth Fairy Doesn’t Exist?”

  1. fatima4life Says:

    Two months ago I read an interesting twist on the tooth fairy issue from a children’s book titled ‘Dad, Are You The Tooth Fairy?’ written by Jason Alexander. I think parents might benefit from this book. You can get it by going to http://www.scholastic.com.

    Demi F.O
    http://www.educatingthechild.wordpress.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: