Is it OK to Lie to Children about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus?

Is it OK to Lie to Children about the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus?

Delaney Panigall, Senior Staff Writer

Lying to kids about characters such as Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy might sound like a bad idea. But are parents and older siblings really lying?  Or are they instead entering a world of make-believe and imagination? It is a good way for parents to bond with their kids. Of course it is not ideal to lie to anyone, but things like this are a crucial part of anyone’s childhood, and maintaining these myths creates many more benefits than harm. 

Made up characters play a huge part in the memory-making of many children’s lives. Many families even have yearly traditions around the holidays such as leaving cookies for Santa or hunting for the eggs that the Easter Bunny leaves. In one survey, 84% of parents said they had taken their kids to visit Santa at least twice in a year. Senior Gillian Ryser states:  “I always used to go visit Santa around Christmas time. It was something that I looked forward to each year.:  According to research by online reporter Jacqueline Wooley, 85% of  five-year-olds believe in Santa Claus. So much energy is put into perpetrating the story of these characters and in building traditions around these beliefs that most would question where any harm could exist.

One common misconception is that lying to kids about fictional characters may affect trust between parents and children. This is not true. These myths present bonding opportunities between parents and children. Significantly, studies suggest that as time passed, maintaining these stories did no harm.  Research done on teenagers who had been taught to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny showed that being lied to at an early age had no correlation with the current relationship with their parents.

So when should parents tell their kids the truth? Of course, there is no right or wrong age. At some point, kids will begin to think more critically and question the existence of these made up characters. Usually, children will start asking questions around the ages of seven-ten, but of course every child is different. Paige Reed says, “I found out Santa wasn’t real when I saw my mom wrapping gifts. I opened the gifts I saw on Christmas morning and put two and two together.”  Parents can find many ways and new traditions to make Christmas fun even after their children find out about Santa. 

Telling children little white lies about imaginary characters is the root of many memories. Make believe myths are one of the few magical things to happen in life. They bring about great joy and happiness, even if only for a short period of time. These are memories that can warm a heart years down the road.