The Big Question Fail » Teeny Manolo

The Big Question Fail

By Glinda


All right, I think I blew it.

This morning as we were getting ready for school, the Munchkin pipes up with this gem of an exchange.

Munchkin: Mommy, remember the party we went to this weekend?

Glinda: Yes, of course I do.

Munchkin: Well, there was a boy there, and he told us that Santa was a big fake.

Glinda: Silence

I had no idea of what to say. Do I dash his little kindergartener imagination with the truth? Do I outright lie and tell him Santa is real? This was a minefield that was just about to blow up.

Munchkin: But you know what, I don’t think Santa is fake. Who else is going to give you all the presents? Your parents? No, they are asleep when the presents come. No, it has to be Santa…

And the rationalization went on for a while, until he concluded that the little boy (who is someone I don’t know at all) was full of it.

Call me a bad parent, but I just didn’t have the heart to look in those big brown eyes and tell him that Santa is indeed fake.

He’s going to hate me when he gets older, isn’t he?

9 Responses to “The Big Question Fail”

  1. Obi-Wandreas Says:

    Dodge the question and redirect via another question:

    “Who are you going to listen to: A mean kid who likes to hurt people, or your parents who love and care for you?”

    Alternatively, you can apply Pascal’s Wager, which can apply to Santa as well as God. Simply put – if you believe in him and he does not exist, you have lost nothing. If you don’t believe in him and he does exist, you have lost everything.

    You can further obfuscate the issue by showing movies such as “The Santa Clause” (1 or 2 will do) or “Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Clause.” Both deal with the issues of adults who have ceased to believe in Santa and are subsequently proven wrong.

  2. La Petite Acadienne Says:

    It is a sticky situation, but often, just saying to the child, “Well, instead of letting other kids tell you what to believe, why don’t you tell me what YOU think?” wwill elicit much the same response as the Munchkin’s.

    I don’t recommend outright lying to them if they ask you. When my husband was a kid, he asked his parents point-blank if Santa was real, and they took the route of the outright lie. He knew they were lying, and at that young age, to know that your parents are lying right to your face, it kind of sets your world on its side. He probably reacted more strongly than some other kids would, but he had had such unconditional trust in his parents until then, so it really took him aback.

  3. ayla Says:

    I don’t know anyone who didn’t feel hugely betrayed when they found out that Santa wasn’t real. I never thought that Santa was real, just a fun game of pretend. I think it’s silly to lie to kids like that, and easy to let them know that Santa is a pretend person that both grownups and kids like to play with around Christmas.

  4. Seana Says:

    You are not a horrible parent and he will not hate you when he figures it out for himself. It will be at that point that you have the conversation about how important that fantasy was to him and why we need to believe in things throughout our lives, whether we can prove they are real or not. The spirit of Santa is real, it is what creates the feeling in his tummy and the magic that happens on Christmas morning. The spirit of Santa is in mom and dad. My son asked me if Santa was real when he was in first grade, and I decided to tell him the truth, because he figured it out, not because someone had told him, so I decided he was ready to know. My first question though, when he asked, was simply “why do you ask?” Once I had determined that it was his brain and not someone ruining the magic, I decided to tell him the truth. I also swore him to secrecy because he has a younger brother and I wanted him to experience the magic for a few more years.

  5. Amy Says:

    Good grief! I would have hated my parents if they DIDN’T perpetuate the Santa myth. Santa is the best part of Christmas! All the magic and fun and excitement! It never bothered me a bit when I finally figured out he wasn’t real, in fact I just got into the swing of things by helping my little brother believe. Obviously the munchkin is enjoying his Santa fantasy so I say you did good, Mom.

  6. Bellamama Says:

    I don’t think I ever asked my parents one way or the other. I remember believing when I was little and gradually understanding he wasn’t. I didn’t feel cheated. I just kind of understood.

    My brother, on the other hand, demanded to know if Santa was real. My parents did what La Petite suggested and asked what he thought about it. He declared Santa was a fake. We (the younger siblings) stood aghast at his lack of faith and terrified that his attitude would scare Santa away for good. My parents smiled and said he could believe any way he liked. They said it was okay not to believe in Santa. They never said anything definitive one way or the other.
    My brother then decided to prove Santa was a fake and hid under the tree on Christmas Eve to catch my parents at it. He fell asleep and missed the whole thing, which we thought was judgment on him for his faithlessness. We just knew Santa had sprinkled sleeping dust on him or something. He wasn’t convinced, but he let it go.

  7. raincoaster Says:

    Glinda…what…what are you saying?

    I knew better than to confront my parents with the opportunity to lie to me, so I simply decided that Santa was a sort of ghost who took possession of your parents and made them super-extra generous one day a year. I should have started a cult…I’d be rich by now!

  8. gemdiva Says:

    Wait a minute. Are you guys seriously telling me that there is no Santa Claus? OMG I need a valium!

  9. DentD Says:

    I think it depends on the maturity level of the child and how “ready” they are for the truth. At 5 years old I was very much an independent thinker and when an older child at school told me Santa wasn’t real, I confronted my parents about it. They were more devastated than I was once I knew the truth. For me it wasn’t a big deal. But I did get in trouble for trying to ruin it for my younger sister a few times…

    It sounds like your munchkin didn’t feel ready. That’s okay, and you’re certainly not a bad parent for letting him believe in a little Christmas magic. As he gets older he’ll come to the truth on his own, and I seriously doubt that he’ll resent his parents for it.

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