It’s happening. My 7-year-old comes home from school this week and asks, “Mom, is Santa real?” Apparently, the kids at school are starting to talk. Some kids are telling all the other kids that Santa is not real and that it’s really just your parents.
I’m torn. I don’t want her to lose the sense of magic that comes along with believing in Santa. We get so little time to be kids and believe in magic and in the impossible before we have to face reality, I want that to last as long as possible for my kids. But I don’t want to straight up lie to her at this point either. She’s too old for that too. Especially since one of the big things I stress with my kids is that lying is a big NO…that whatever you do, lying about it is going to make it ten times worse. It’s important to me that my kids know that whatever happens, the most important thing is to be honest about it so we can talk about it and work through it.
So…how can I possibly lie to her?
I mean, I also try to teach them common sense. It’s okay to not tell the whole truth if you are planning a nice surprise for someone. That’s a good thing that the person will know about soon and will make them happy. It’s okay to tell your 3-year-old sister that the doctor checked her out too while she was asleep in the stroller during your appointment so she stops crying that she needs a checkup too (my 3-year-old LOVES going to the doctor for some reason). No harm done, happy little sister. And even in these situations, I kind of feel bad okaying lying since I’m so seriously against it the majority of the time. But, life isn’t all black and white, and you also need to teach your kids how to handle the grey areas, right? So…does Santa fall into this area of exception? A harmless little lie to make our kids happy…
So far since her direct questions started this week, I haven’t outright lied to her. I have been answering all of her questions with my own questions for her. I figure until I make a decision, I can just get her to form her own opinions.
Conversations have gone like this…
“Is Santa real?” “Well, what do you think?”
“Kids at school say he isn’t real.” “Well, why do they think that?”
“They say it’s just your parents pretending to be Santa.” “Well, how do they think their parents get all those presents?”
This has been my solution while I make a decision. Don’t outright lie….let her think what she wants. Let her figure it out or not. Let her decide what she believes. I mean, that in itself is another life lesson, right? Make up your own mind, decide for yourself what you believe in.
I’m definitely not going to lie to her at this point. I am definitely not going to look her in the eyes and say “Yes, Santa is real.” I value trust between us too much for that. And, honestly, I don’t want her at school adamantly standing up for the reality of a Santa that isn’t…based on lies we told her. But I also can’t imagine looking her in the eye and just outright crushing the magic of Santa for her. Not yet. And, yes, maybe part of me isn’t looking forward to admitting to her that we lied in the first place.
So I’m going to keep on guiding her to make up her own mind…telling myself that I’m not lying and am using the situation to teach her another valuable life skill in helping her figure it out on her own. The fact that she needs to figure it out based on lies I already told her…let’s just call that a grey area. A grey area all dressed up in a red suit and a white beard. Ho ho ho.