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Belief in Santa Claus

I have two children, an eleven year old and a six-year-old.  This past Christmas, my six-year-old came to me, crying, because his older brother (the tween) told him that there was no Santa.  Here’s what I did.

I addressed my 6-year-old first by reassuring him that Santa is real.  I talked about when Santa has visited our house, when he sat on Santa’s lap, and other examples in which he had first-person experience with Santa . . . memories on which he could draw to remind himself that Santa is real. 

Then, I addressed my eleven-year-old.  I began by calmly asking him why he told his brother that Santa wasn’t real.  If he’d thought that he was helping by clearing away misconceptions, then I would have simply let him know that I want childhood misconceptions to remain as long as possible because they are fun and nurturing experiences for both parent and child . . . and children grow out of these misconceptions quickly enough as it is.  However, in actuality, he had made a conscious choice to be naughty when he spoke with his little brother, so I chose to redirect his behavior.  I grounded him for one week.  I’d toyed with the idea of taking away his favorite video game for a week, but I decided that one full week of “quality time” with me would be a more memorable experience for him.   In that week, I took him after-Christmas sale shopping, and we spent most of our time shopping for clothing.  I know he loves that (no, not really).

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