Parents perpetuated Santa Claus myth to keep kids happy

December 9th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): While most people think that Santa Claus isn”t real, they still perpetuate the myth only to keep their children happy, according to a new study.
Although some parents feel that they are outright lying, still they feel that with having kids believe that there’’s a jolly man in a red suit who visits on Christmas Eve isn”t detrimental.
Almost 80 percent of the parents in 2000 said they perpetuated the myth of Santa since it made their children happy.
“When they learn the truth, children accept the rules of the game and even go along with their parents in having younger children believe in Santa,” said Serge Larivee, a psycho-education professor at the Universite de Montreal.
“It becomes a rite of passage in that they know they are no longer babies,” added Larivee.
Larivee along with colleague Carole Senechal from the Univerity of Ottawa examined a study from 1896 involving 1,500 children aged 7 to 13, which was repeated in 1979.
More than 46 percent of children in 1896 and 44 percent in 1979 gradually found out on their own that Santa didn”t exist.
The studies also analysed the reaction of the children once they discovered the jolly old elf wasn”t real.
More than 22 percent in the 1896 study admitted to being disappointed compared with 39 percent in the 1979 study. But only 2 percent and 6 percent, respectively, felt betrayed.
“The constant outcome of the two studies was that children generally discovered through their own observations and experiences that Santa doesn”t exist,” Larivee noted.
“And their parents confirmed their discovery.
“Children ask their parents, for example, how Santa gets in the house if there’’s no chimney.
“And even if the parents say they leave the door unlocked, the child will figure out that Santa can”t be everywhere at the same time and that reindeer can”t be that fast,” he added.
Close to 25 percent of children in the 1896 study learned the truth about Santa from their parents, compared with 40 per cent in 1979. Those who didn”t find out from their parents learned the truth from other children.
Larivee says belief in Santa diminishes as children approach the age of reason.
“But cognitive maturity and level of thought that would allow a 7-year-old to differentiate between the imaginary and reality are insufficient to let go of the myth,” he adds, pointing out that half of children of that age in a 1980 study still believed.
In 1896, 54 percent of parents said they perpetuated the myth of Santa since it made their children happy; compared with 73 percent in 1979. (ANI)

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