by Medindia Content Team on  December 21, 2007 at 5:39 PM Child Health News
Psychologists Stress the Need to Keep the Spirit of Santa Claus Alive in Kids
Can't make up your mind as to whether or not you should disclose the myth of Santa Claus' existence to your kid? Well, then don't stress yourself, for psychologists have said that it's ok to let your child believe in Saint Nick.

Child psychologist Bruce Henderson of Western Carolina University has said that some parents might worry about the effect of the Santa story on kids, but giving kids an immediate dose of reality on the subject isn't necessary because young children often use their imagination and make-believe when they play.

"Santa is just one of the many fantasy figures that exists in a preschooler's world," Live Science quoted Henderson, as saying.

"Adults might just be wasting time trying to get a child at that age to give up on such a warm and fuzzy character to accept adult realities," he added.

The most annoying problem for parents arrives when children grow up and start wondering how Santa can make the worldwide journey in just one night, which gives rise to the inevitable question: "Is Santa Claus real?"

"Most parents do not worry very much that encouraging the Santa myth is harmful or that eventually spilling the beans will make their children mad at them. They are torn, however, about what to do when their children directly confront them with their doubts," Henderson said.

Parents and experts alike vary on how to respond to children in this situation.

"At one extreme are those who suggest that any kind of deception is wrong. On the other extreme are those who consider most any fantasy to be valuable for stretching the child's imagination," Henderson said.

He added: "A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that children are remarkably resilient in response to hurt and disappointment."

As for the parents who can't deceive their kids, the best way is to tone down the Santa mythology from the beginning itself.

But the best advice, according to Henderson is to let the child provide the cues for what they're ready for.

"Forcing an elaborate Santa Claus story on children serves no good purpose for child or parent. On the other hand, following the child's lead in fantasy play about Santa Claus is likely to do no more harm than imaginative play surrounding Elmo or Mickey Mouse. Parents can respond to direct questions honestly with answers appropriate to their children's developmental levels," he said.

Source: ANI

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