-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Dec. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Children should be allowed
to believe in Santa Claus as long as they want, an expert says.
There is no particular age at which a child should stop
believing in Santa and children will often arrive at the truth
themselves as they grow older, according to Jared Durtschi, an
assistant professor in the marriage and family therapy program at
Kansas State University in Manhattan.
"I don't think it's necessary for parents to decide upon a time to tell their children there is no Santa," Durtschi said in a university news release. "As children develop, the magical thinking that is so common in kids, which allows them to so readily accept all the details of Santa Claus, will give way and they will soon figure it out on their own."
By telling children the truth about Santa Claus before they work
it out for themselves, parents might put a damper on their
children's excitement about Christmas.
"Christmas tends to be more fun for those kids who believe in Santa compared to those who do not," Durtschi said. "It may be unnecessary to spoil the excitement for the child until they outgrow the belief."
Many children go through a transition period where they still
have some belief in Santa or want to believe in him, even as they
begin to realize that the idea is impossible. During this period,
children's ideas about Santa can fluctuate.
"They may believe one day, not believe the next day and then decide they believe in Santa again next week after watching a Christmas movie," Durtschi said. "Just because a child is showing signs of doubt does not mean he or she has completely made the transition to disbelief in Santa."
During this transition period, Durtschi said, parents should ask
their children a neutral, open-ended question ("What do you think
about Santa Claus?" for example) rather than a more leading
question, such as, "Do you still believe in Santa?"
Here's where you can find out how and why NORAD
Santaas he makes his Christmas deliveries.
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