Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parents should let kids' beliefs about Santa develop naturally, expert says

Date:
December 11, 2012
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
When it comes to Santa Claus, an expert says let children believe in the jolly old elf as long as they want.

When it comes to Santa Claus, a Kansas State University expert says let children believe in the jolly old elf as long as they want.

Jared Durtschi, an assistant professor in Kansas State University's marriage and family therapy program, says there is no particular age when a child should stop believing in Santa, and that children will often come to realize the truth gradually as they grow older.

"I don't think it's necessary for parents to decide upon a time to tell their children there is no Santa," Durtschi said. "As children develop, the magical thinking that is so common in kids, which allows them to so readily accept all the details of Santa Claus, will give way and they will soon figure it out on their own."

Durtschi said that by telling the truth about Santa before a child has figured it out on his or her own, parents might unintentionally lessen the excitement of the Christmas season for their children.

"Christmas tends to be more fun for those kids who believe in Santa compared to those who do not," he said. "It may be unnecessary to spoil the excitement for the child until they outgrow the belief."

Parents should also be aware that children will often go through a transition period where they still have some belief in Santa or want to believe in him, but their logic is beginning to tell them the idea is impossible.

During this period, which may last several years, Durtschi said that children's ideas about Santa can change often.

"They may believe one day, not believe the next day, and then decide they believe in Santa again next week after watching a Christmas movie," he said. "Just because a child is showing signs of doubt does not mean he or she has completely made the transition to disbelief in Santa."

This transition period often corresponds with the time that parents are wondering if their child still believes in Santa but are hesitant to raise the subject in case they spoil it for their child. Durtschi advises that parents ask their children a neutral, open-ended question -- "What do you think about Santa Claus?" -- rather than something more leading, such as, "Do you still believe in Santa?"

Parents who do not want their children to believe in Santa may find it difficult to teach them not to because the character is one the mainstream culture heavily promotes.

Durtschi suggests that these parents may find it helpful to spend time with like-minded families during the holiday season, as children generally believe what they are taught from the adults around them.

Durtschi also said that whatever children are taught regarding Santa Claus, it is important for parents to teach them that there may be other children whose beliefs or opinions differ from their own.

"I hope all parents will make efforts to teach their children to respect the differences in how the holidays are celebrated," he said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Parents should let kids' beliefs about Santa develop naturally, expert says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211112721.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2012, December 11). Parents should let kids' beliefs about Santa develop naturally, expert says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211112721.htm
Kansas State University. "Parents should let kids' beliefs about Santa develop naturally, expert says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211112721.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins