Question on raising children
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02-10-2012, 10:09 PM
Question on raising children
Not sure if this is the appropriate place for this thread, and if not, any moderators please feel free to relocate it wherever it is best suited.

My question is this. When I do eventually have children, I want to do my absolute best to raise free-thinking kids, but I have mixed feelings on raising them to believe in Santa Claus. I have fond memories of the magic and wonder I felt when I believed, but I also suspect that my discovery of the truth led to my discarding of religious faith as well. It was pretty rough for me, considering how young I was, and how I discovered it (I found every list I ever wrote to Santa in a box in my parents' closet).

So, encouraging a belief in Santa: yay or nay?
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02-10-2012, 10:24 PM
RE: Question on raising children
I'm actually stuck on this particular decision, too. I'm newly liberated from the Jehovah's Witnesses as of earlier this year (though my heart hadn't been in it for at least the last 10 years), so I never got to enjoy Christmas to do the whole Santa thing. My husband was raised Catholic, so he did, and therefore has more experience with it. He actually asked me, though, whether or not I wanted to do the Santa and Easter Bunny thing with our child. I... actually don't know!

Part of me wants to do it, because I've heard other atheists say that it's a good thing to teach them "magical thinking", as it was called. I think what was said was something along the lines of that allowing them to believe in something like Santa or the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy is good for their minds, because it teaches the difference between reality and fantasy. I'm not sure how I feel about that, though.

There's no worry over it for this Christmas, as my little guy will only be about a month and a half old at that point anyway. And likely not so much next year either. So I still have some time to weigh the pros and cons.
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02-10-2012, 10:28 PM
RE: Question on raising children
Nay. If you encourage a belief in something you know isn't true, you're lying to your kids. Why would you do that?

What you might do is tell them that Santa and the Easter Bunny are pretty stories, and even though they're not true, sometimes it's fun to pretend they are. Kids understand pretend.

But really trying to get your kids to believe in nonsense? Uh-uh. No way.

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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02-10-2012, 10:46 PM
RE: Question on raising children
I don't want to lie to my children, to be sure. I'm just worried about killing my kids' imaginations.
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03-10-2012, 08:58 AM
RE: Question on raising children
I understand your concern. And since I don't have kids, I can't speak from experience. But it seems to me there's more than enough in the real world to fire up kids' imaginations. Dawkins has a book for children, The Magic of Reality, that aims to show them how wonderful the real world is without having to resort to myths and irrational thinking.





Probably the most difficult aspect of being honest with your future kids is the fact that they'll inevitably be in an environment where their peers believe in Santa Claus, because everyone has lied to them. You'll have to figure out a way to help them deal with that. Maybe let them know how much smarter they are than the other kids? Big Grin

Religious disputes are like arguments in a madhouse over which inmate really is Napoleon.
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03-10-2012, 11:04 AM
RE: Question on raising children
Thanks for the advice. Dawkins is one of the people who inspired me to come out as an atheist, so I have a high regard for his works.
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03-10-2012, 11:25 AM
RE: Question on raising children
Definitely, do raise your children. Tongue
Oh wait. Oh, ya mean that wasn't the question ?


If Santa is the ONLY thing you ever lie to them about, you're probably ok. But why even do that ? They will understand it in context of a pattern, not just one. As the others have said, there are better ways to stimulate imagination, with all kinds of nutty, crazy kids books and stuff.

During the summer I have a group of kids from the neighborhood, that come on Saturdays, and I read to them. It's such a blast. It's gotten to be rather popular, and the older ones won't leave. Take em to the LIBRARY ! They have programs where they get read to, as do the major book-store chains. Google "Barnes and Noble". They read every Saturday am too, I think.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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03-10-2012, 11:37 AM
RE: Question on raising children
I actually worked at Barnes & Noble before, but I forgot about that program. I'll keep that in mind. I dunno, as irrational as this is, I just have this image of my kids taking no joy from things like Harry Potter or the works of Tolkien. There's no reason for that, I know, since I still love both of those things, I guess I'm just paranoid since I've never been a father before, lol.
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03-10-2012, 11:42 AM
RE: Question on raising children
Don't raise children.

The meat becomes too tough unless they are kept in cages and corn-fed.

There is some debate over this but best before 18 months or so.

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03-10-2012, 11:55 AM
RE: Question on raising children
Nay, I never believed in Santa, my parents said it was baby Jesus who left the gifts, but it was more of a joke than a real thing, so I always knew they left the presents under the tree. That doesn't mean I didn't have magic and wonder in my childhood, but it came from fiction (books and movies) and from science.

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