Experts are warning against parents telling their children about Santa Claus in new study.
The study, published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, says fabricating the tale of Father Christmas can damage the relationship between parents and their children, leaving kids open to “abject disappointment” when the truth finally comes out.
Co-author Kathy McKay, a clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Australia, said: “The Santa myth is such an involved lie, such a long-lasting one, between parents and children, that if a relationship is vulnerable, this may be the final straw. If parents can lie so convincingly and over such a long time, what else can they lie about?”
Lead author Chris Boyle, a psychologist at the University of Exeter said he isn’t about to ruin Christmas for those who do believe in Santa Claus, but he doesn’t agree with parents using a "mythical being" as a way to get children to behave.
“I’m not planning to go through the streets of Exeter dropping leaflets through doors,” he said.
“Some parents use it as a tool of control when they’re under a bit of pressure in the lead-up to Christmas,” Boyle added. “It’s potentially not the best parenting method. You’re talking about a mythical being deciding whether you’re getting presents or not.”
Child psychologist Dr Louise Porter agrees with what the experts have said in the study, "because children are now finding out earlier that it isn't the truth - too early to take the let down easily."
"I've found that, for bright children, it's confusing because they know the world is too large for this story to be credible and are confused that adults would think they were that gullible," she added.
Despite what some experts warn, new mum, Rosie McInnes, says some of her favourite memories are from Christmas morning.
"I will bestowing that enjoyment onto my children by telling them about Santa Claus. I have never once felt resentment or anger that my parents lied to me.
"Today's kids are surround by technology and don't play outside like older generations did as kids. They have lost the gift of imagination and creative play.
"What's wrong with a small white lie that inspires imagination and instills a little magic?”
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