Do I tell him the truth about Santa?

Do I tell him the truth about Santa?

“Mum, I was just thinking if some people, you know like God and Father Christmas exist?”

This was the conversation today as we headed off down the beach. “What do you think?” Was my instant reply, not quick or brave enough to tell him what I really thought. While it’s normal for Tween and I to debate and philosophise life, this one really threw me.
My son started secondary school in September, you see, and it’s just occurred to me today that he still might believe in Santa. Further more, I have no idea what prompted this conversation as it was neither Christmas or were we doing any thing religious, in fact it couldn’t have been more random given the fact it was late summer and we were off for a swim in the sea
It’s not so much the location of the conversation, but more the fact I came very close to telling him the truth. While we mulled over his wonder of how the earth got here and the general theory of evolution we moved on to how Father Christmas knew exactly what to get each child, my mind was half on the fact that pretty soon he’s going to be entering a world where he’ll learn about drugs, alcohol and just the general rule breaking in society.

The world I’ve worked so hard at protecting him from for all these years, will no longer have to get through my firewall, I won’t be with him to filter out the nasties,  instead I’ll l have to encourage him to make the right and sensible choices himself.

I quietly pondered over the fact that telling him will stop him looking too immature in front of his peers and that maybe it would come better from me. Every so often he threw a few curve balls in which I’m wondering now were his subtle ways of telling me ‘he knew’ and as the words sat on the tip of my tongue, I just couldn’t summon up the courage to say it out loud.

When's the best age to stop believing in Santa? Did you tell your kids or should about Santa or did they find out another way? click here to read my story;

 

How do you break the news to your child that all these years have been a lie? All the traditions, the fake snowy foot prints up the stairs, the glitter on the door step, the elves running round the garden with jingle bells, warning all the children Santa was on his way? (that really happens in our house!)

How do you do that?

If it comes from me he’ll know I’m capable of lying to him and might question other things I’ve told him.

I feel I’m taking his childhood away and forcing him to an adult world by saying

“that’s it now boy, your Christmas’ will never be the same again.”

As he carried on his questions I simply answered with more questions, leaving the opportunity to pass for another day. I decided in that split second that today was not going to be the day he would stop believing.

I have a feeling he’s starting to make his own mind up any way, We’ve come to an unspoken understanding about the tooth fairy, and I’ll try to hang on to that tiny thread of an innocent boy for a day or too longer, for now.

Whens the best age to stop believing in Father Christmas? read my thoughts on this here;

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37 Comments

  1. 8th October 2015 / 9:32 am

    Oh goodness me it sounds like you handle this whole situation very well. After reading this I too and wonder how I would try and answer these kind of questions should they ever a rise. It’s a very tricky situation indeed. How can one break the truth about Santa without shattering their world or making them feel lied to. I remember finding out about Santa, the tooth fairy etc not existing from a friend but to be honest I can’t remember my reaction or how I felt. Nor can I remember how old I was. Xx

    • 9th October 2015 / 8:52 pm

      No, I don’t remember either so I think it must have been a gradual process so it didn’t shock me. I’m more devastated about him not believing anymore I think

  2. 8th October 2015 / 1:24 pm

    We’ve had a similar conversation this week and I answered by asking my seven year old what she thought. She immediately asked if it was me or Daddy that put the money under her pillow and I had to be honest and tell her the truth. The Father Christmas questions are less direct, it’s like she’s trying to work out whether he’s real but not directly asking! Quite sad when they don’t believe any more 🙁

    • 9th October 2015 / 8:51 pm

      It is, and the times in the past he’s asked then answered himself by saying why he must be real. I think he wants to keep believing. It’s so sad when that little bit of magic goes though.

  3. 10th October 2015 / 10:14 am

    Oliver is only little (almost 3) so the Santa saga is just beginning in our house. I’m not really sure how I would handle those questions when they come. My in laws still do the Santa thing and their youngest is soon to be 19! Haha. Tempting to say that once you stop believing Santa stops bringing you presents, that will keep the magic going for a bit longer! Til he gets fed up of new socks, oranges and 50p pieces in the stocking anyway. ?
    #bigfatlinky

    • 11th October 2015 / 9:21 pm

      My mum still buys me oodles of stocking fillers and despite it not being in a stocking, it’s still the same idea. It’s my first christmas not being with her and getting all my novelty gifts this year and I’m dreading it. But then 40 is probably a good age to stop!

  4. 10th October 2015 / 6:07 pm

    So hard. We made sure the Tubblet knew before secondary school, but left things alone until then. I think she’d guessed by then anyway. Good luck with fathoming it out #bigfatlinky

    • 11th October 2015 / 9:20 pm

      I’m still avoiding it but I have a feeling his friends have probably told him and he suspects by now anyway.

  5. 11th October 2015 / 8:09 pm

    Oh we had this a couple of weeks too! It’s so hard because one child always asks in front of the other two and like you I can never quite bring myself to say the truth. This time we had ‘so and so were laughing at me for believing in the tooth fairy / Father Christmas / Elfie – is it you Mum? ‘ I just replied with ‘you must believe what you want to believe and it is never ok to mock or laugh at people for what they believe in. I somehow managed to skirt around it and because of what I do it seemed so wrong to tell her at the tender age of 8!. I selfishly want more years, or at least one more. As my husband pointed out, these kids in particular will tease our daughter about something or other regardless. I spoke to another Mum about it and she said her granny and Mum had always said to her ‘we should all believe in a little bit of magic….’ I love that. #bigfatlinky

    • 13th October 2015 / 9:55 pm

      oh i love that phrase. I think at 8 you should have many more years of the magic ahead of you. heres hoping x

  6. Tracey Abrahams
    11th October 2015 / 11:30 pm

    I dont think there is ever a right time to sit down and tell your kids father xmas isnt real. With my boys when they asked that quesrion I simply asked them what did they think. In both cases they said they thought maube he wasnt and then we had a discussion about it,mbut Ibknew then I wasnt shattering any illusions they may have still had. #Bigfatlinky

  7. 11th October 2015 / 11:53 pm

    Wow! That’s going to be an interesting discussion to have when you eventually tell him. I miss remember when I found out, I felt betrayed but I got over it pretty quick. It did make me ale up and realise I wasn’t a child eland longer, I knew too much ! In those moments, i think I grew up a little. Great post!

  8. 12th October 2015 / 8:48 am

    You mean to say that Santa isn’t real?! 🙁 I hope I have at least 20yrs for Jack to believe in Santa, this is his first so I don’t have to worry about breaking the bad news just yet… phew! Good luck with this one, I remember one of my friends blurting out that he wasn’t real at school, looking cool, I responded ‘I know’. xx #MagicMoments

  9. 12th October 2015 / 8:55 am

    Such a tough one, my guess is he does indeed know as his friends will know and they will talk. My eldest found out going in the car with my husband as some twit presenter on Radio 2 made a comment about Santa as a fairy tale at 2.30pm! How silly, I wonder how many kids dreams were shattered that same day. As for my younger kids, it all unraveled much earlier in primary. Having said this with a family of tweens and teens Santa still visits and they still get excited, even if they don’t bother with the mince pie and milk anymore!

  10. 12th October 2015 / 9:11 am

    I think you handled the situation perfectly as it’s such a delicate balance between being truthful and protecting their childhood. But I also understand the dilemma of not wanting him to seem immature with peers. I can’t remember my parents ever telling me. I think I just heard about it at school.
    #magicmonent

  11. 12th October 2015 / 9:11 am

    Phew, I am glad I don”t have to cross this bridge just yet (I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 6 month old), I guess it’s only natural for him to start asking questions. I genuinely can’t remember how I found out and how old I was…..I think just be led by him and see how things go when he asks again. I don;t think it;s a case of you lying to him, it’s just keeping the fairytale alive 🙂 Popping over from #magicmoments

  12. 12th October 2015 / 9:37 am

    The last couple of years we suspected our 8 year old knew as he asked really difficult technical questions about how Santa could manage it. Eventually he said he knew which made it easier as I didn’t want to give the game away. A friend told her daughter before she went to secondary because she still believed and she was worried it would cause problems.

  13. 12th October 2015 / 9:55 am

    Well I think you handled that well. I was wondering what happened with your older son – when did you tell him and how did he react? Perhaps he could be your little helper in gently breaking the news?
    As for lying – I think that’s too strong a word. I’ve seen lots written about the Santa ‘lie’ over the years and I don’t think children see it like that. It’s fantasy. And i think deep down children get that. They play make believe from 18 months as far as I can see from my limited experience, and they watch TV and read books about monsters and wizards. I think as they get older the penny starts to drop and for me, by the time I confessed to my parents that i knew, I’d been stringing it out for a couple of Christmases because I didn’t want to stop playing the game.
    Real lies are about the real world – being honest about feelings and relationships and the way the world works is much more important to get right.
    As for God – well there’s a whole other conversation! I think I’ll tell Little B what some people believe and let him make his own mind up.

    • 12th October 2015 / 2:13 pm

      I much prefer the idea of a fantasy. I never told my older son and it never came up to be honest. It’s like the elephant in the room but because we were still doing the santa thing for his younger brother it wasn’t really an option to stop or discuss it just incase he heard. I can imagine he’ll jump at the chance to tell him now!

  14. Emma T
    12th October 2015 / 7:54 pm

    It’s so weird because I don’t even remember the time when we learnt Santa didn’t exist. Secondary school must be that hard transition point when parents really have to let their children make their own way. I’m glad I’ve still got quite a few years yet. I think you handled it the way most people would. #magicmoments

    • 12th October 2015 / 9:51 pm

      I don’t remember too really, i think it was a gradual process so I’m hoping its the same for my boy.

  15. 12th October 2015 / 9:07 pm

    I am dreading this question! It had never occured to me that big man would get to 7 and still believe. I found out at 5 so
    thought that was normal. I am expecting questions from now on. Good luck with your decision x

    • 12th October 2015 / 9:50 pm

      He’s had a few friends tell him but he’s always keen to point out they’re obviously lying! % is quite young though, hopefully you’ll get a few more years past 7 too.

  16. Mamavsteacher
    12th October 2015 / 9:45 pm

    O bless him, I’m sure that he’ll come to his own conclusions soon enough . I’d don’t remember when I realised that Santa wasn’t real so I shouldn’t worry too much, he’s unlikely to think you’re horrible for lying in the long run…. although I do have one friend whose husband is still angry at his parents for lying!! Oops! #Magicmoments

    • 12th October 2015 / 9:48 pm

      I’m on a real count down now to ask to whether I tell him. I’m just a whimp when it comes to things like this. My husband is much more upfront.

  17. Jude
    13th October 2015 / 12:35 pm

    Loving your distraction techniques! I can see why this is a watershed moment, and you avoideddealing with it at the time. At least you’ve got some time to think about your answer now you know it’s on his mind. Good luck with that one! Will be interested to hear how it unfolds. x #thetruthabout

    • 13th October 2015 / 9:50 pm

      i will no doubt be sharing how our christmas pans out, watch this space.

  18. Maddy@writingbubble
    13th October 2015 / 8:50 pm

    My eldest is eight and still a firm believer. I hate the idea of him finding out the truth because the idea of father Christmas is just SO EXCITING isn’t it? Plus he has two younger brothers so I suspect that when one stops believing the others will too. I have no idea how much longer he’s going to believe for and I don’t know how I’ll handle it when he starts asking questions. I think you handled it well but I guess in a secondary school environment he might find out soon? But who wants to spoil the magic when they don’t have to? I don’t! #thetruthabout

    • 13th October 2015 / 9:29 pm

      I thought that last christmas was our last and with my youngest only 16 months we’re a couple of years away from him knowing what it’s all about. i think we just won’t mention it and pretend for another year.

  19. 13th October 2015 / 10:53 pm

    I hold quite an uncompromising view about this. When it comes to religious matters, I give guidance and express my own opinions that my kids can take or leave. When it comes to Father Christmas, I think it’s ludicrous (did warn you my opinion was uncompromising!). I wanted to downplay the whole thing from day one. I wanted to give our kids presents in the middle of the night, but make clear there was no Father Christmas. Alas my wife disagreed and we’ve continued with this charade for several years. At the age of six, my eldest is asking probing questions. She will be SOOO upset when she finds out and the whole thing could be avoided. We spend so much time telling our kids to be truthful and yet we’re dishonest to them at Christmas time and it’s essentially for our own entertainment.

    Not, however, that this answers your question! You know your child best, I’m sure you’ve made the correct decision. I must say I’m quite surprised, bearing in mind his age, that he hasn’t found out already. #thetruthabout

    • 14th October 2015 / 7:21 am

      He’s had a few friends tell him over the years and has questioned it now & then but as christmas is such a huge thing I our family I think that’s over shadowed any doubt. White I do see your point I never t sure I agree that it’s for the adults entertainment as seeing their delight at the carrots disappearing, the jingle bells in the garden and the whole excitement of Christmas Eve is something they will always hold dear.

  20. 14th October 2015 / 9:56 pm

    I’m so not looking forward to that time when my little boys start questioning the idea of magic existing in the world – it is kind of the end of that beautiful innocence isn’t it? Still I like the fact that you didn’t have to go through with an explanation in the end. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout Ali X

    • 15th October 2015 / 6:01 am

      No, I’m quite good at avoiding questions from my kids. Years of practice it’s taken though!

  21. 16th October 2015 / 3:41 pm

    This is a tough one. We grew up without Santa and it didn’t make a difference but saying that the boys are fully involved with it. Reading this has brought a little dread as keep thinking how I would handle it and not see the innocence disappear. I think that answering with a question and letting them decide is probably the best way. Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky hope to see you there this week

    • 17th October 2015 / 8:57 pm

      It’s always a safe bet to see what they come back with I feel as most of the the time they’ve made their own mind up.

  22. ERFmama
    17th October 2015 / 7:30 pm

    Santa is something we have managed to hold and still hold for years. My 11 year old still does believe in both santa and the tooth fairy. I don’t think imagination like this is a bad thing, if anything I think it was a really good thing. After all Father Xmas is based on a true story and a real person, so all in all I think it’s a good thing. 🙂

    • 17th October 2015 / 8:55 pm

      That’s fantastic you’ve kept it going for so long. I dont think there’s anything wrong with keeping the magic going.

I'd love to know what you think?