Question on raising children
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03-10-2012, 12:19 PM
RE: Question on raising children
I'm a little confused with the OPs questions.

Having an imagination and enjoying fantasy worlds like those of Tolkein isn't the same as having a religious belief.

The difference is knowing the difference between what is real and what is an illusion.

And you don't even have to go so far as Tolkein, or the Harry Potter stories...just open a Dr. Seuss book. Nonsensical animals and scenarios that are delightful whether you are studying the illustrations or reading the words.

Religious belief may require faith and an imagination to accept it as true. But having an imagination doesn't imply that you believe every thought you can conjure up.

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03-10-2012, 01:06 PM
RE: Question on raising children
You can tell them that Coca-Cola bought Santa and made him wear a red uniform instead of his old green traditional one.

With regards to the easter bunny Id tell them that its ok to shoot them except when there is an "r" in the month Evil_monster

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03-10-2012, 01:27 PM
RE: Question on raising children
I don't get the concern.

My daughters are 18 and 15 now, both free thinkers, both are out of the closet atheists in their schools (and not just because their dad is - they both read and study and watch the debates and form their own opinions quite nicely).

They were both raised with the magic of Santa, not because their parents were Christian or cared about the birth of Christ but because Santa is cool and magical and fun. We still have ornaments of them sitting on Santa's lap when they were little kids. They loved it. It was cute. Fun for the whole family.

Then they figured it out and Christmas became a time of exchanging gifts rather than a time of magical elves. No trauma, no worries. It was fun then, and it's fun now.

So I say, let them have their fun and magical Christmas with elves and flying reindeer and toothless Bumbles and dancing singing snowmen and all that jazz. It won't hurt them and it won't brainwash them and it won't stunt their intellectual development.

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03-10-2012, 05:32 PM
RE: Question on raising children
I did not encourage any belief in Santa with my children. I refused to let them believe some unknown prepared the work, time, and money going into the holiday celebration. Imagine my shock when my youngest daughter came home from kindregarten in hysterics, sobbing that Santa does nor exist.

At that time we were living the Christian life. Maybe that had something to do with it, living a mythic life.
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03-10-2012, 07:40 PM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2012 08:13 PM by aurora.)
RE: Question on raising children
I raised my son with the Santa thing (as I was quite a young single parent and my memories of Santa were mostly positive) but if I had to raise a child now I'm not really sure whether I would or not. Both sides of the argument are valid as Santa is a magical experience and nothing like organized religion.

EDIT: I think believing in Santa and then being told he doesn't exist is good for children as it teaches them that some things in life are not often as they seem and that life is a bitch! So strap some on for the ride Yes

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03-10-2012, 08:04 PM
RE: Question on raising children
(03-10-2012 12:19 PM)Anjele Wrote:  I'm a little confused with the OPs questions.

Having an imagination and enjoying fantasy worlds like those of Tolkein isn't the same as having a religious belief.

The difference is knowing the difference between what is real and what is an illusion.

And you don't even have to go so far as Tolkein, or the Harry Potter stories...just open a Dr. Seuss book. Nonsensical animals and scenarios that are delightful whether you are studying the illustrations or reading the words.

Religious belief may require faith and an imagination to accept it as true. But having an imagination doesn't imply that you believe every thought you can conjure up.

Completely different concepts.
Dr Seuss etc.. are books or TV or whatever, they exist in the realms of the book or TV or whatever. Santa however entails telling your kid that he exists much in the same as telling that child that Ghanda exists or actual real people.

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03-10-2012, 08:36 PM
RE: Question on raising children
Muffs, look at some of the other OP's posts where he brings up imagination and books, etc.

The Santa thing didn't scar me or my kids. As kids once we found out the truth, we were then part of keeping the magic alive for the younger ones and that was kind of cool. I don't think Santa is ever meant as some big deception with any kind of malice.

But, I was responding more to the OP's other points.

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03-10-2012, 09:00 PM
RE: Question on raising children
(03-10-2012 01:27 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  ... sitting on Santa's lap when they were little kids...

And we see here yet another correlation between the Santa myth rituals and the Catholic myth rituals.



But at least Santa doesn't ask the little ones to lick cream off his knees.

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03-10-2012, 10:51 PM
RE: Question on raising children
(03-10-2012 01:27 PM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  I don't get the concern.

My daughters are 18 and 15 now, both free thinkers, both are out of the closet atheists in their schools (and not just because their dad is - they both read and study and watch the debates and form their own opinions quite nicely).

They were both raised with the magic of Santa, not because their parents were Christian or cared about the birth of Christ but because Santa is cool and magical and fun. We still have ornaments of them sitting on Santa's lap when they were little kids. They loved it. It was cute. Fun for the whole family.

Then they figured it out and Christmas became a time of exchanging gifts rather than a time of magical elves. No trauma, no worries. It was fun then, and it's fun now.

So I say, let them have their fun and magical Christmas with elves and flying reindeer and toothless Bumbles and dancing singing snowmen and all that jazz. It won't hurt them and it won't brainwash them and it won't stunt their intellectual development.

This was my experience growing up. Happy times. We had the religious thing too, but they never really overlapped.

Now I continue this tradition with my kids. It is the one magical experience felt first hand that is all sweet with no hard feelings, no guilt or shame, no sin. I try to make it as positive as possible because happy memories are wonderful. I realize some may think it's lying or dishonest, and I suppose it may seem that way. That does deserve some thought. I would not like to be that way or jeopardize trust in our relationship. However, my experience has lead me to feel like it was a fun trick or prank for those childhood years. I never harboured any hate, resentment or mistrust towards my parents and neither have my friends.

I don't think that Santa aids belief or brainwash. I think it helps critical thinking if anything. In a town I used to live in, I went for coffee with a (Christian) couple that I'd bump into that I knew from around town through friends, and Santa came up. The couple hated Santa, and the husband was so adamant that Santa be banned because it really shook his faith when he was younger and he found out the truth. He said Santa is a threat to God and is from the devil. Not that I want to do a social experiment on my children, but I think if anything this experience would support the fact that no matter how real something seems you have to test it in many ways to find out the absolute truth. Don't swarm to malls or churches just because every one is doing it.

If i found scientific proof that Santa affected my children in a negative way- maybe the concept kills brain cells or stunt development- then I would definitely stop and not do this. But as far as I can tell, it seems it harbours imagination and creativity. I like that.
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04-10-2012, 12:06 AM
RE: Question on raising children
I don't see an issue with it, personally. And in response to other posts in this thread; "you'd be lying to your kids" is a poor argument. We've all played "peek-a-boo" with a child. Well, believe it or not, an infant's mind is so under-developed; it literally thinks you've vanished when it can't see you. Hence the suprise when you suddenly return with a "Boo!"

This, in a technical sense, is a lie.

In regard to Santa, it's a fun concept that feels wondrous and magical and fun. What's more, it eventually fades with age (unlike religious beliefs).

Is it a falsehood? Yes. But does that, in itself, make it bad? No. It gives the kid a fun time; then when he's old enough to realize it was all pretend, he will accept that truth, but also have fond memories. What's more, the concept can open his mind to objective reasoning, in that he'll understand what it's like to believe something that's unfounded, and why the evidence-based truth is much more valuable.

For these reasons, it is not a morally "wrong" thing to do. With that being the case, the choice is entirely up to you.

On a final note: most children figure out that Santa is imaginary, but play along anyway because it's fun. My parents adopted a child several years ago, and at one point, I had a game I'd play with him that involved a monster living in a cabinet in their house. The first time I mentioned it he thought it was true, which admitedly, I found amusing. But very quickly, he caught on to the fact that I was full of shit, and then proceeded to taunt the "monster" - clearly aware that it was non-existent. Children become very receptive to these things, very quickly. It's different when it comes to God - someone the child is told IS out there, IS an authority figure, and MUST be obeyed (this God is also the persistent answer to questions of curiosity about how the world works). But with Santa, it's a fun time that will eventually be exposed by the incredibly thin veil of secrecy that surrounds it, and the child will realize it to be as much bullshit as the monster in the cabinet.

Again: I see no issue with it.

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