DS' teacher and the big man in red

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Posted 11/28/2012 by Sarah*H in NSBR Board
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Canadian Girl 77
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Posted: 11/28/2012 7:43:14 PM
Honestly, I am shocked at all the kids that still believe after primary school (grade 3).

I know why kids in Bermuda could last that long - the same guy played Santa in the parade, and on the television and actually came to visit some kids on Christmas eve and day. Although I think most clued in by age 10.

DH is convinced that your kids are playing you. Or that they don't read. Or watch network television.

In 6th grade I think it should be safe for the teacher to say something about Santa.



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Posted: 11/28/2012 8:00:52 PM
Kiki, I am not determined to go against the grain as you claim. I just think that an uproar about Santa Clause and 6th graders is silly.

I have to chuckle because many of those on this thread who are furious that teachers "out" Santa instead of leaving it to the parents to determine have absolutely no problem with the school teaching kids about sex, birth control and stds over the objections of parents.

Makes no sense to me...outrage for not leaving the issue of a fictional character for parents to disclose but no outrage, in fact agreement, about allowing discussions of something as important as sex ed to be taken out of the hands of parents.

Go figure.





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IScrapCrap
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Posted: 11/28/2012 8:18:50 PM
6th grade is no longer elementary where I live. I would have told them in fifth grade if they still believed. I would not want them to break down in front of their peers and be teased.

I don't require them to fake it once they know. Santa is like a fairy tale character in our home. It's a kid thing.

I would not think the teacher was out of line at MY kids school.


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tracylynngibson
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Posted: 11/28/2012 8:23:16 PM
I still believe and I am 44! My kids, 17 and 12 would not even consider mentioning in front of me that Santa isn't real. It is an unspoken pact I love everything Christmas and everything Santa!!
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twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 11/28/2012 9:25:42 PM
As a former 5th grade teacher, I NEVER told a kid Santa wasn't real. That was a can of worms I didn't want to open.

BUT . . . . Let's be honest here: if we were talking about any other "imaginary" being, i.e. unicorns, mermaids, fairies, etc., you (generic you, not OP) would be worried about your 11 year old kid who still believed in such stuff (assuming no developmental delay). Why? Because a child that age SHOULD have developed an understanding that "magic" isn't real, that fairy tales aren't real, and that mythical creatures aren't real. A child that age SHOULD have figured out that Santa couldn't possibly hit every home in a small city and leave presents, let alone cover the entire world. They should have some concept of the number of presents that would be required to be delivered and realize that even the local Walmart couldn't hold that many toys, let alone Santa's sleigh. Unless, of course, Santa had magical powers that allowed these things to happen, which brings us back to the fact that an 11 year old should know that "magic" isn't real. And even if the child hasn't completely figured it out, IMO it would be a developmental expectation that the child should at least be QUESTIONING how the Santa stuff is possible.

So why the big fuss about expecting a child that age to understand that Santa isn't real? It is developmentally appropriate for MOST kids to have started questioning Santa by 3rd grade when they start learning the difference between fantasy/fairy tales and reality, let alone 6th grade when they are expected to use critical thinking skills to determine whether a story is fantasy or reality. True belief at that age is a red flag to me, and I would be worried if my 11 yo child was not questioning the myth in any way.

And once my child did start questioning, I would be honest with her.

Suppose your child believes The Little Mermaid is real--are you going to insist that schools never mention mermaids as "mythical creatures" since it would spoil the "magic" of the story for your child? Santa's really no different, except he is attached to Christmas gifts and the warm fuzzy "Santa lives in your heart" idea.

I do agree with the pea who said most parents whose older kids believe are getting "played" for the presents.

I also think older kids who find out there is no Santa are probably more sad about being deliberately "fooled" for so long, especially if they questioned the myth years before and the parents went all out to "keep the magic alive". I would have felt like a complete idiot if I had been a 6th grader defiantly insisting to my peers that Santa was real, only to find out later that my parents had "set me up" by manipulating me into believing long after I had first started questioning whether Santa was real.

Sorry if this makes me sound like a "Judgey McJudgerson". If you want to keep your kids believing until they are 25 years old, have at it. Your kids, your choices.

Just don't expect the rest of us to keep up the charade on your behalf. I would never deliberately tell an 11 or 12 yo child there is no Santa if I knew that child still believed. But I am not going to walk on eggshells and tiptoe around the truth in the presence of every kid that age and assume they still believe.

gryroagain
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Posted: 11/28/2012 9:30:25 PM
I've been afraid to open this thread.


freecharlie
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Posted: 11/28/2012 9:31:41 PM
I think I believed until I was 11 or 12. There was no reason for me not to believe. I always got exactly what I had asked for and then some.

I think DS (11 and in 6th grade) still believes, but if he doesn't he isn't going to let on and spoil it for his younger brother.

I try and hop around Santa Claus like I do God and Jesus. I am not teaching either in my classroom. Last year when I had mostly first and second graders, most of the kids were very excited for Santa and Christmas. One boy kept screaming that there is no Santa Claus and I think it really bothered the other students. Since this kid would scream about a lot, the students passed it off as though he was just trying to be mean and I didn't correct them. I did tell them not to discuss Santa in front of that student.


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Posted: 11/28/2012 10:03:11 PM


Wait? What? Santa's not real

Don't worry Sara, of course he's real. Don't take any notice of the mean spirited people who say he's not. What do they know - they're just sad, miserable grumps who want to spoil things for others. We know he's real and that's what matters.


Sweet! I like Santa.


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BoSoxBeth
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Posted: 11/28/2012 10:08:29 PM
By the time the kids are in middle school, I'd say they are definitely old enough to hear the truth. They are not little kids anymore.

One of my daughters is in sixth grade (middle school here). She said the kids who still believe in Santa are teased mercilessly (sad). She also said that one of her peers claims to believe in fairies, too!!! OMG!!! The girls is on the verge of menstruating and she wears a bra and she believes in fairies?!!!?!!

All this being said, it may be best if teachers just avoid Santa talk altogether. It seems to ruffle people's feathers. It's a no-win situation.

camanddanismom
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Posted: 11/28/2012 10:23:19 PM
I think it is the parents place to drop that bombshell on a kid. It shouldn't happen at school. My ds is 9 and he is likely to still be a believer at 11. Although very bright, he is still very innocent.


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~Lauren~
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Posted: 11/28/2012 10:24:22 PM
Twinsmom, yours was, by far, the best post I've seen on this subject.





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Posted: 11/28/2012 10:34:03 PM
Well, I don't have kids. I'm 29, DH is 27 and its just us and our dog. But sure as heck Santa will have gifts under the tree for us this year, just like each year past. I do hope that when we do have kids and the secret is outed, it's not a teacher who does it. I think each side means well, but in my family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and fun behind Santa.


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CountryHam
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Posted: 11/29/2012 6:18:36 AM
I am surprised they were even allowed to mention Toys for Tots or Santa at all.

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Posted: 11/29/2012 7:19:24 AM

I don't think people are doing their kids any favors by "keeping the magic alive" for so long.


And that's fine for you to believe. It's certainly your right to have that opinion. I'm quite sure a lot of people here share that opinion.

However, is it really your place to decide whose kid gets to learn the truth, from you or anyone else besides the parents?



Sarah*H
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Posted: 11/29/2012 7:26:48 AM

I am surprised they were even allowed to mention Toys for Tots or Santa at all.


Why? They are in the middle of doing a big fundraising and toy drive. I don't think most people equate toy drives with the birth of baby Jesus.



Captain K
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Posted: 11/29/2012 7:26:59 AM
I am really shocked that kids over 10 believe. All my kids had it figured out by 3rd-4th grade. I think if a 6th+ grader still believes, they aren't being taught/reinforced critical thinking skills and appropriate levels of discernment. By 6th grade, a kid should be able to figure out it is impossible for a man to fly around the earth in an open sleigh and to fit down a chimney. If your kid still believes at that age, you should be starting to teach them better reasoning skills, frankly.

Captain K
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Posted: 11/29/2012 7:29:13 AM
Just realized twinsmom posted the same thing. ITA with her.

BrinaG
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Posted: 11/29/2012 7:31:19 AM
twinsmom-fla99 - that is probably the best stated post on this topic that I have seen. It perfectly sums up my thoughts on this topic.

Dalai Mama
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Posted: 11/29/2012 7:39:01 AM

Kids are smarter than we think.

I'm sure most (if not all) kids don't belive in Santa by 6th grade.

But, if you ask their parents, I'm sure most will say their kids still believe.

I know our kids told us that they didn't believe in Santa long before they told us. They wanted to keep getting presents.
My oldest (now 13) believed last year but doesn't this year although he still claims he does. How do I know? Because nobody knows my kid better than I do.

Personally, I never cared if someone told my kids that Santa didn't exist. Their faith in the old guy was stronger than the naysayers.

I will say, however, that, as an atheist, the irony of this thread is just killing me. Do explain to me again how, by middle school, a child should have the mental capacity to no longer believe in magic.


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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:16:13 AM
That teacher should know better! What a ding dong! My younger son was still 100% believing in 6th grade and on the fence in 7th. He would have been crushed to learn the truth that way!



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missbitts
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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:25:57 AM

Twinsmom, yours was, by far, the best post I've seen on this subject.


ITA. I was one of those 5 year old kindergartners who was told by a classmate (on the first day, I think) and came home to read my parents the riot act for lying to me about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. I was furious that I had been duped.


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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:39:46 AM

BUT . . . . Let's be honest here: if we were talking about any other "imaginary" being, i.e. unicorns, mermaids, fairies, etc., you (generic you, not OP) would be worried about your 11 year old kid who still believed in such stuff (assuming no developmental delay). Why? Because a child that age SHOULD have developed an understanding that "magic" isn't real, that fairy tales aren't real, and that mythical creatures aren't real.


You mean, like G-d?


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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:43:07 AM
Captain K, great point about the issue of critical thinking skills.

Dalai Mama
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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:50:53 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BUT . . . . Let's be honest here: if we were talking about any other "imaginary" being, i.e. unicorns, mermaids, fairies, etc., you (generic you, not OP) would be worried about your 11 year old kid who still believed in such stuff (assuming no developmental delay). Why? Because a child that age SHOULD have developed an understanding that "magic" isn't real, that fairy tales aren't real, and that mythical creatures aren't real.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



You mean, like G-d?
Exactly.

Peas are 'worried' about my kids because they still believe in Santa at 11 years old. And, oh my goodness, how ridiculous is it that a child that age still believes? And how humiliating would it be if they told their friends that they believed in Santa?

Like I said, the irony is killing me.


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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:54:36 AM
Twinsmom makes excellent points.

And, as far as children being able to distinguish between magic/unreal and religion . . . It would seem to me that if you are teaching your children that only your god can do magical things like raise the dead and walk on water, it wouldn't be a far jump to, "Well, if only God can do magic, what's up with this Santa Claus story?" for a child, even one much younger than 11.

I could be wrong, but those I see who get most upset about outing Santa to their children often appear to be the ones most determined to wrap their kids in bubblewrap to avoid the bumps of the world. By 11, a kid should be able to handle this kind of revelation. And if s/he can't, I would be worrying about some emotional or developmental delays.


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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:54:40 AM
Twinmom just made the argument every atheist makes against religion and belief in G-d. How on earth can people with critical thinking skills believe in a being that they can neither see nor hear nor meet. That does things that no one can do in reality, yet they believe it with every fiber of their being. I think it's called... faith.

I don't see the problem if a child suspends reality to have faith in something but many of you do. Which would also mean that religious belief is a problem for you. And that is fine. But I expect you to be consistent.



OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




KikiNichole

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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:55:32 AM
You know, for some reason this subject has really bothered me. I even dreamed about it last night, if you can imagine. And I've been thinking and thinking what it is about it that bothers me so much?

Even after much thought, I'm still not really sure.

What I do know is I am the mother of three children.

My oldest child never had much of a 'childhood' since, at two years old, she became the innocent victim of a divorce and had a mother who didn't handle the circumstances of that divorce in the best way and spent a couple of years not enjoying much of anything...which was a direct cause of her growing up much faster than most kids do.

My middle child was born 40. He is just one of those kids who went from infant to adult. He's always been serious and sensitive and inquisitive and practical.

And I love both of those kids more than life itself. I love so many things about them and I love them for who they are and always will.

But then I have this third child. This little girl who sings out loud, dances in the driveway, sets up elaborate 'houses' for her dolls, can be heard lecturing to her 'students' from her room, leaves surprise messages on her dry erase board nightly for me to read in the morning, loves to draw, will spend hours in the basement with her best friend creating comedy sketches...which I randomly find on my phone at the times when I need them the most.

She has no interest in boys, doesn't have a cell phone or a facebook. She's not embarrassed by much, is strongly independent, doesn't care what people think, would rather spend an entire day playing softball than shopping at the mall, rides her scooter through the neighborhood, dragging her dog with her, collects rocks, and she STILL believes in Santa.

I keep looking and looking and thinking and thinking and I honestly can't see how this is a problem. *She* is enjoying her childhood. *I* am enjoying her childhood. I'm her innocence and her joyous and simple outlook on life. I love that her biggest problem in life is what she's going to have for dinner or when the next sleepover with her best friend will be. I love that she still wants to sit down every night and watch a Christmas movie and still talks about the time she heard the hooves of Santa's deer on the rooftop.

She enjoys all of these things because she hasn't yet discovered all the 'serious' in life and I enjoy it because I know what the alternative is.

I know that eventually she may become that sullen teen who would rather sit in her room with the door closed than go out to dinner with her family. I know that she's soon going to give up her American Girl dolls for dates with boys. Instead of chatting our ears off at the dinner table, soon she's going to be trying to hide her phone under the table because she'd rather spend time with her friends than even the 20 minutes it takes to eat dinner with her family.

Like I said, this isn't my first rodeo...I know what's coming down the road. And I think what it boils down to is this: I've done both ways and I like this way better. I know that once she starts 'growing up' the problems become harder to solve. The tears flow more frequently and the heart breaks more easily. I also know that things will turn out okay and she will do great things in life, regardless of those more difficult times...but I also know *this* time can never be returned. Once she leaves, she can never come back.

So if allowing her this little blip of time in her life somehow makes me, in the eyes of others, a lackadaisical mother incapable of teaching critical thinking or causes other adults to ridicule her level of intelligence while patting themselves on the back for making sure they only lied a little bit but cut out before the deception and grief became irreparable, then I guess that's the way it has to be.

And if you don't want to take a little extra care in preserving that little bit of innocence for others, simply because *you* have decided there is a certain age childhood beliefs must be surrendered or because it's not something you have deemed valuable or worthy...go for it and feel good about it. Me? I'll just keep on doin' what my Mama taught me...and let you handle your traditions and children in whatever manner works best for you.


~Kristen~

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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:57:11 AM

And if s/he can't, I would be worrying about some emotional or developmental delays


Dude. If someone said this about adults believing in someone walking on water or a man rising from the dead, we would be called hateful but you can talk about children this way. Amazing indeed. It's called faith. Have you heard of it? We believe what we want to believe even though our minds tell us otherwise b/c it serves a greater purpose.


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sues
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Posted: 11/29/2012 8:58:57 AM

I think 11 or 6th grade is an appropriate age to be able to discuss this with a class (unless perhaps it was developmentally delayed students).


Honestly- all the 'too old for this'/'developmentally delayed' comments are just shitty. It's none of your business if a kid still believes or why that might be the case. It's not too much to expect people to just shut up about it. There was no earthly reason for this to come up at school. None.

I respect the way other people handle the Santa thing...even though I might not agree. And while I believe it's not up to other people to go to great lengths to keep the belief going for kids in general- it's a small thing to just shut up about it. If you don't want to get involved in the myth- don't say anything at all. You make the choice for your kid. I'll make the choice for mine.

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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:02:15 AM
And just to let you know where I stood on the Santa business, as someone who clearly doesn't believe in it since were Jewish and participate in Christmas not at all, I told MY children, that we don't believe, but they are not to tell kids at school that Santa isn't real or that they shouldn't believe b/c it is something very special to them.

That's respect. When it means nothing to us as a family or a religion or culturally. So I don't see any problem with expecting anyone else to have the same courtesy. It's a big part of our culture. It's not walking on eggshells. It's being kind. And for me, being kind is easy. I guess, for others it takes too much work.


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:05:07 AM

And by the way Ms Teacher... Do you have the same attitude about Jesus? Or the Bible? Some kid comes in your class talking about how they really believe that a baby was born of a virgin and then grew up and performed miracles (not one of which was documented historically) and then was executed and raised from the dead...

Do you then think there is something wrong with this child that they believe this reality? Do you put them down in some book as being developmentally delayed or something?

Really tell us all. I for one want to know.

Hmmm. Where to start?

First of all, I have FAITH in God and believe Christ is my savior. I never discussed it in class because it would have been inappropriate. Nor would I have thought that a sincere religious belief would indicate a developmental delay. Why? Because developmental norms are based on what most people do/say/believe, and there are at least as many people, if not more, who believe in a religious being as there are who do not. So a religious belief in God/Christ/Buddha/etc. would never be a red flag developmentally since it is a cultural norm for even adults to believe in some religious figure.

Honestly, I would expect a child to have doubts about the miracles cited in the Bible. But there are faith-based explanations for those miracles, and kids hear those explanations from their clergy and parents all the time. It is NORMAL and DEVELOPMENTALLY appropriate for a child to have religious beliefs (even if they defy the child's common knowledge) that have been built through years of religious instruction. The child expresses doubts, and the clergy or parents answer those questions in a way that is either meaningful to the child and the belief continues, or the explanation doesn't hold water for the child and he or she stops believing. But none of that would ever enter into a discussion about whether or not a child was at risk developmentally at school.

On the other hand, Parents KNOW that Santa is fake because they know they are the ones putting out the presents. Children start having doubts because of all the conflicting information out there from the 30 bajillion different Christmas specials that try to explain the Santa myth. The "story elements" of the Santa myth indicate a fairy tale, which the kids have been studying in language arts. A child who is on-target developmentally will be having serious doubts about the truth of Santa. Parents who elevate Santa to "real" at this point are doing their children no favors.

And yes, a child who continues to TRULY believe in Santa in middle school in spite of all the conflicting Santa stories, the various Santas at the mall, the testimony of other children whose parents have confessed that they have played Santa all along . . . I believe there is a red flag about that child's development.

And BTW, "red flag" doesn't mean I am going to send that kid for an evaluation. It simply means that I am going to keep an eye out for other issues of delayed development, i.e. either social, emotional, or academic. If there are other issues, then there might be a need for further action, or it might just be a "wait and see" situation related to the child's maturity.

batya
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:13:42 AM

It is NORMAL and DEVELOPMENTALLY appropriate for a child to have religious beliefs (even if they defy the child's common knowledge) that have been built through years of religious instruction. The child expresses doubts, and the clergy or parents answer those questions in a way that is either meaningful to the child and the belief continues, or the explanation doesn't hold water for the child and he or she stops believing.


You can say all of the same for Santa. B/c a parent is in a position of trust. And a child naturally trusts what a parent says. Your posts is rationalizing your point. It doesn't make it so.

You do realize that some atheists believe that those who have faith in G-d do not have the critical and analytical thinking skills necessary to determine what is real and what is not? You are describing exactly what some of the more ardent "New Atheist" writers of today grapple with when they try to figure out exactly how supposedly evolved thinking people can believe and reject fact an rational thinking to have faith in supernatural beings. You hit the nail on the head. And these are adults. Not even middle schoolers. To some atheists, gods are nothing more than Santa with grown up notions and longer, more establish indoctrination that you describe as "built through years of religious instruction."

But b/c it is acceptable to you and more 'developmentally normal' you can make an argument for it.


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




Fairlyoddparent
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:14:43 AM
I had a response but then got completely turned off by the comparison of Santa and God.




Dalai Mama
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:16:15 AM
Just to recap, believing in a man who walks on water, feeds the masses with a few loaves of bread and raises the dead doesn't raise any 'red flags' because he has the numbers on his side. Believing in the man in the red suit who flies around the world delivering presents does raise red flags because, at around the age of 10, we should all have the cognitive ability to see how utterly ridiculous that is.


Jo Mama

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angela_d
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:20:12 AM

I also think older kids who find out there is no Santa are probably more sad about being deliberately "fooled" for so long, especially if they questioned the myth years before and the parents went all out to "keep the magic alive". I would have felt like a complete idiot if I had been a 6th grader defiantly insisting to my peers that Santa was real, only to find out later that my parents had "set me up" by manipulating me into believing long after I had first started questioning whether Santa was real.



This is the reason we told our 11 (then 10) year old last year. He's the type of kid who will stand firm in his beliefs and argue them to the end and I didn't want to set him up for this kind of situation. He took it really well, but he's always been a more serious kid. He's like an old man most of the time. Very practical, black and white about stuff. And he really enjoys helping us be Santa and helping to move around our Elf.

Now my 8 year old is a lot like your daughter Kiki. She lives in this magical world of imagination that I wish I could live in for just one day. Her view on the world is just magical. I'll be devastated when she doesn't believe anymore because she's so bright eyed about this kind of stuff.

Either way, I'd be bummed a teacher mentioned it, just because I don't think that's their place. It's bad enough I get lectures about the bleach spray I use in the bathroom b.c her teachers have told her it's poison I don't think the teachers at their school are allowed to mention it though. They go to Montessori so my son is in a 4-6 grade class and daughter in 1 -3. Too much age range to "assume" everyone knows.

Angela

Kelpea
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:20:23 AM
How the hell did critical thinking skills come into this discussion? FFS, it's Santa Claus, not freakin' IEP analyses!



Chlerbie
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:23:37 AM
Wow, twinsmom--way to be judgmental, but I'm with Dharma on the irony situation here. It's OK to believe in a guy who rises from the dead, turns water into wine, brings the dead back to life and that's faith, but an innocent belief in a fun tradition equates with developmental delays. Gotcha.

You know, I DID figure it out. When I was around 9. But I continued to play along for a couple of more years. For one reason, because my mother enjoyed it so much, but for another because *I* enjoyed it. It's fun. And really, what's so wrong with it? Why would you think it's "OK" to ruin something in childhood that's fun, and just shrug it off as "no big deal." It's like spoiling the end of a movie. I'd rather see it and come to it on my own than have anyone spoil my fun. And that's what this is about. It isn't life shattering, but it's one of the few little things that just about everyone is happy to play along with. And if you're not one of those people who IS happy, that's fine--but there's no reason to ruin it for ANYONE else.


Stephanie

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MellyW
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:24:37 AM


Dalai Mama & Batya- I feel like I'm sitting on my hands trying to not type certain things out. So thank you for expressing what I'm thinking in a kind way!

gryroagain
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:24:38 AM
Well, since my oldest has turned out to be an atheist like her mom, at least we're consistent, lol.

No Santa, no God. Maybe no God because of no Santa? I just ruined her for belief, period, I guess.

My kids are 14 and 11, and yesterday they dragged a tent, sleeping bags and the American girl dolls out in the backyard and played camping with them. They wouldn't let me take a picture because it would go to instagram and their friends might see, but obviously imaginative play even as a teen is not a problem here. No one is growing up particularly fast around here, despite no Santa belief.

candleangie
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:26:27 AM
I'm just going to agree with Twinsmom on this, because she's saying it all SOOOO much better than I am.

While it sucks that a few kids got told by a teacher, I would not have given a second thought to talking about santa as a fictional person in a room full of sixth graders. Not because I think they SHOULD or SHOULDN'T know by that age, but I would have assumed that they WOULD know. I can't image a kid that age honestly believing still unless their parents went to EXTREMES to keep the story real...at which point I will own it...I'm probably gonna judge a little bit. I think it's wrong to prolong the "magic" to an age that really is developmentally questionable.


The blog, finally resurrected!





TinaFB
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:32:01 AM

Because developmental norms are based on what most people do/say/believe, and there are at least as many people, if not more, who believe in a religious being as there are who do not.

Developmental norms are based on observable patterns of growth and development in social, emotional, and cognitive areas. These norms are the same cross-culturally. They aren't based on the dominant culture, but on the very fact of being born a human being. A child is going to sit up, speak, develop the ability to play with friends, disconnect from parents, sit still in a classroom, tie their shoes, etc. all at around the same stage of life as their peers. Again, this is based observable behavior and growth, not cultural norms.

Human development is also a continuum. Some babies sit up by themselves at 4 months of age. Some take until around 6 months. Both are normal and not cause for concern. The ability to discern fantasy from reality, or to put it in religious terms-move from a child like faith into an mature understanding, is therefore on a continuum since it is part of normal human growth and development. This magical thinking doesn't disappear because a child hits a certain mark on the calendar, but because they've reached a stage in their growth. Some may reach that stage in third grade and some in sixth. Both are normal.

I did some quick research that found 1/3 of fifth graders still believe in Santa. This is normal human development at work. So logically, a small number of those children will still believe into the next year of their growth. They may be on the far end of the continuum, but they are, in fact, still within normal human growth and development.


Tina


batya
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:36:36 AM

I had a response but then got completely turned off by the comparison of Santa and God.



It's ok. I'm allowed to do that. B/c I DO believe in G-d and I don't believe in Santa. It's clear that your personal beliefs and your visceral reaction made your synapses jump your critical thinking skills and miss the point.

The point is that for someone who doesn't believe in any god, the arguments being made against santa are the same. It's a mythical being with no proof. (I'm just using my critical and analytical thinking skills in my explanation here. And it seems the peas are very big on those. Who knew?!)

I'm not denigrating anyone's gods. I'm saying that when you make an argument that you can't be 11 and developmentally on task if you believe in something that you can't prove, see or know, then your disingenuous if you believe in G-d. See what I'm saying? It's not an affront to anyone's belief. It's a comparison to discredit the argument against an older child's faith in santa, unicorns or Jill Stein. What the faith is in is irrelevant. That is the point. It's called faith simply b/c it cannot be proven by science and fact and critical thinking has nothing to do with it.

So saying that an older child is somehow 'not right in the head' if they do believe is akin to saying an adult who believes in G-d is also not right in the head. I am not saying this. But I am saying that some New Atheists do say this. So you can fall on one side, or the other. but you can't fall on both.

So I prefer to say that an adult or child can have faith in whatever they want since it brings them comfort and joy as is the purpose of both G-d and santa, though they are not on the same level.


OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.




Kelpea
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:41:47 AM
Just a reminder: Santa feeds some reindeer in SEVENTEEN MINUTES!!! (Or maybe his clone, I dunno.) lol

Reindeercam.com



awkward
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:43:34 AM

I am *so* tired of people deciding when it's appropriate for my child to grow up. To let go of childhood dreams and fantasies and imagination.


So true! Most of these kids suspect the truth, but why not let them believe in the magic as long as possible?

I've got a sixth grader who still believes, despite his classmates from other faiths that have felt it was their mission to tell him the truth since Kindergarten.

I understand those kids must feel pressure from a tradition they don't share, but really wish their parents had reinforced the idea of respecting others.

KikiNichole

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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:43:37 AM

would not have given a second thought to talking about santa as a fictional person in a room full of sixth graders. Not because I think they SHOULD or SHOULDN'T know by that age, but I would have assumed that they WOULD know. I can't image a kid that age honestly believing still unless their parents went to EXTREMES to keep the story real...at which point I will own it...I'm probably gonna judge a little bit. I think it's wrong to prolong the "magic" to an age that really is developmentally questionable.


Well, I just spent about 30 minutes trying to paint a picture of a sixth grader who still does believe. So now you know...there *are* some out there. So, if it makes you feel better, to continue assuming and have not regrets about doing so, have at it. And judge away.

I'm not prolonging anything...when she asks, I'll tell her. But she hasn't asked. And all I'd ask of *you* is that you be aware...you don't have to agree but just be respectful. As I would you.

I could spend all day justifying her developmental capabilities but will that really change your mind? Or would you still be unconvinced that a girl who is 11 years old, in the 6th grade, makes straight A's, has lots of friends, is actively involved in multiple activities but still believes in Santa without some sort of delay I'm not willing to admit to?

And gyro...I think it's great that you have teens who still drag out a tent to camp and play with American Girl dolls...but how would you feel if I told you that must mean there is some kind of delay because *my* teens don't do that kind of stuff?

This really isn't so much about Santa as it is just allowing children to be children. Imagination is imagination, whether it's used to camp, play dolls or believe in Santa.

It all goes away soon enough...



~Kristen~

Dalai Mama
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:43:48 AM
Thanks batya. Really.


Jo Mama

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twinsmom-fla99
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:51:10 AM

Twinmom just made the argument every atheist makes against religion and belief in G-d. How on earth can people with critical thinking skills believe in a being that they can neither see nor hear nor meet. That does things that no one can do in reality, yet they believe it with every fiber of their being. I think it's called... faith.

I don't see the problem if a child suspends reality to have faith in something but many of you do. Which would also mean that religious belief is a problem for you. And that is fine. But I expect you to be consistent.
The difference between the two is that (a) religious beliefs are a cultural norm for ADULTS, so it is not unrealistic for a child to have those same beliefs and (b ) the parents pushing the Santa myth onto their doubting children KNOW that it is a lie because the parents pushing the myth are the ones performing the actions that PROVE the myth to the child.

If you REALLY want me to be consistent about Santa and religion, I would need to go to great lengths to get my child to believe something that I DON'T believe. In other words, as a Christian, I should be doing my best to get my child to suspend our "religious reality" and believe in Buddhism or Islam or the Roman gods or any other non-Christian religion.

In my heart, I have faith in Christ, and I try to get my children to believe in him, too. If my children come to me with doubts, we will talk it out and see what solutions we can find. If my children end up not believing, I will be disappointed (going through this with my oldest), but once they are old enough to make that decision, it is theirs to make. Up until that point, they will continue to get religious education because I believe in it, and I see no problem with continuing to give them information that can help them decide for themselves.

I, too, have no problem with a child's suspension of reality to have a little faith in Santa. I did the same with my kids, and Santa was a very special part of Christmas for my family for a long time.

However, once reality sinks in for the child and s/he figures out that something isn't quite right with this story, some parents go overboard to get the kid to continue suspending reality. It is a normal part of a child's development to stop believing in the Santa myth at some point. No reasonable parent truly believes there is a man in a red suit ready to bring the child exactly what s/he wants for Christmas. If they did, they would just sit back and let that happen. But no, instead they buy the present and give it to the child in such a manner as to continue the myth. And yet some of those same reasonable parents feel the need to "trick" the child into believing something that the child obviously doubts.

Religious beliefs, on the other hand, are held by many adults. Children develop those same beliefs by attending church with their parents and observing the faith of the adults around them. They are given structured instruction in the tenets of the faith (Sunday school, CCD classes, Bible school, etc.) and participate in ceremonies to promote their faith (baptism, first communion, confirmation, bar/bat mitzvah, etc.). With all of these culturally accepted professions of faith that include adult believers, why would it be considered "developmentally inappropriate" for a chld to have religious faith?

There may be some "conflicting" stories about what each Protestant denomination believes, but I don't think those are that "obvious" to, or even discussed with, the average child. The differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are more noticeable to a child, but the child still has his or her own beliefs reinforced within the family's religious community.

Santa, however, treats children differently even within the same classroom. One child gets all his presents from Santa, while another only gets one. Santa wraps presents for some kids but not others. Some kids have their Christmas presents waiting for them after bathtime on Christmas Eve, but the child next door still doesn't have hers after coming home from midnight mass. One child's parents explain that Santa can't make an Xbox Kinect, but his best friend gets one anyway. Santa makes multiple wishes come true for some, while others get nothing on their list.

Children talk about Santa all.the.time. and soon figure out that something isn't making sense when they see that Santa doesn't seem to play "fair". I honestly believe that the biggest clue for most kids is the "unfairness" of Santa -- how could someone who is supposed to be so nice treat everyone so differently? How could he possibly bring FIVE presents to that bully who torments others everyday and yet only ONE to the nicest kid in the class? Either there is a flaw in the naughty/nice list or Santa isn't all he's cracked up to be. Once they start questioning, all the other pieces start to fall into place.


So on one hand you have religious beliefs passed on from parents who are true believers, and on the other you have a chld manipulated into believing something the parents KNOW FOR A FACT is false, even after the child expresses doubts. I don't see how the two are even remotely the same.

MrsScrapDiva
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:54:38 AM
I was thinking again about this post. Do you think that older kids just convince their parents they still believe so they don't miss out of gifts? Good point about the internet that someone else said and also about tv and movies. I don't think his teacher did anything wrong.

Middle school here is 5th - 8th grade so that would be like 11 - 14 years old. Such an awkward age to be when you are trying to figure the world out. All it ever seems I hear about in our city is this age group not dressing appropriately, attitude, getting in trouble with mobile devices and the internet and even worse...violence, drugs and sex.

I can't even imagine they would still believe in Santa at this point without being completely ridiculed in school.

Just out of pure curiosity, if parents are still "babying" their pre-teens and teens, do you think those are the ones who avoid talking about sex and drugs and other things with their children?

jennifercw
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Posted: 11/29/2012 9:55:03 AM
Kristen -

As the mom of a 10.5 year old 5th grader who still believes, I'm sitting on the bench right next to you.

Jennifer

(And my dd's development, maturity level, and critical thinking skills are just fine, thank-you-very-much!)


~ Jennifer

Maryland
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Posted: 11/29/2012 10:02:09 AM
I think that's terrible that the teacher did that! My kids are young for their grade (summer birthdays and we did not hold them back). So there are some young kids in the grades that may still believe.

But I came on here a few years ago worried that my 9 yr. old's best friend would tell her the truth and everyone was basically on the side of the friend, that 9 yr. olds should not believe in Santa, and it's just too bad that my daughter was told. So I think those of us who want our children to believe as long as possible are in the minority here. I'm sorry that the teacher ruined it for some students. I would be calling her if that was our teacher.

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