“He knows when you’ve been sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake.” Those are just part of the lyrics from Santa Claus is coming to town. Part of a myth that has been passed down from generation to generation dating back to when your grandparents’ grandparents were little.
A new study shows that perpetuating the myth that Santa Claus really exists can harm a parent’s relationship with their children. As we move towards the time of the year where every young child’s dreams are focused on sugar-plum fairies, psychologists are making a new push to get people to stop lying to their children about the Jolly Old Elf, according to The Guardian.
The two psychologists have published a paper in the journal, The Lancet and that paper says kids can have their moral compasses permanently thrown off if they are consistently lied to about Santa Claus by the adults they most look up to. Kathy McKay, a clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Australia who is a co-author of this new report, 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?”
Of course, those who are paying attention might have read the line, “a relationship that is vulnerable.” This would seem to mean that not every parent and child are going to have problems later in life because mom or dad wanted the kid to believe in the magic of Santa. The problem is, how does mom or dad truly know whether they are in a risky relationship with their son or daughter?
The RT reports that parents are likely motivated by a desire to relive their own childhood when they are lying to their children about Santa Claus. That’s not a particularly healthy way to go through life, according to the researchers. There is also the very real passive aggressive attempts by parents to control children’s behavior by threatening that a mythical man is going to punish them if they don’t behave at all times. That message is in the song we talked about earlier. Still, the researchers know the myth of Santa is one that is going to be hard to kick, but wanted to warn people about their behavior anyway.
What do you think about this issue? When did you find out Santa Claus wasn’t real? Let us know in the comments below.
By Oliver VanDervoort