Parental Conduct: Imposed Dispair on the Young?

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Richardgrant
 
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 02:53 am
@Agnapostate,
agnapostate
I have found as I awaken to who I am that the unseen world, or spiritual world is the real world, and the material world is a reflection of the spiritual world, the greater my imagination the greater my creation. So in actual fact what our parents taught us may not have been far from the truth when they played santa clause.
 
Deftil
 
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 08:29 am
@Khethil,
So I guess I'm just now getting around to sharing my personal thoughts on this topic...

My immediate response is to say that lying to children unnecessarily is bad. Why warp their view of the world in their formative years? Aren't there ways to have fun with them, share enjoyable experiences with them, and encourage them to utilize their imagination without telling them lies? I can't help but think that one of the reasons so many adults have difficulty letting go of apparently false beliefs in the face of great evidence is due to parents encouraging them to embrace fantasy and fiction as truth when they were young. If you teach them that any wild story could be true as a child, then at least some remnant of that idea could be carried with them into adulthood. This might then allow them to maintain beliefs that have little basis in reality, thus preventing them from embracing the truth and dealing with the world as it is, rather than simply how they would like it to be.

However, from the bit of research that both Khethil and I did, I haven't seen much, if any, serious support for these ideas. So I've tried to rethink the issue. The result is that I still feel basically the same way, but appreciate that apparently there isn't much information out there about damaging psychological effects of encoraging belief in these childhood stories. But I didn't find the points made in the articles I previously posted particularly convincing, and I think that doing experiments to actually gauge the impact of telling children these stories as if they are true would be exceedingly difficult. The evidence that there aren't harmful effects of these stories doesn't have me convinced, but I am at least more opened minded about the idea now.

Khethil;25253 wrote:
I've long subscribed to the "+pleasure and -pain" mindset in making generalized judgments. So when considering any potential 'disillusionment', I'd suppose I should apply that here as well. So such traditions give comfort to the young one passing into sapience; conceded, does that - in the end - give more pleasure than pain in the human experience? Le question at hand!

Tre utilitarian of you! I tend to think the same way (and I believe just about everyone does as well whether they realize it or not, like J.S. Mill said).

I think there are other, more constructive (and truthful) ways that parents could foster the positive feelings and effects that children get from these stories in their kids. So I think the benefits of telling them these things are true outweigh the drawbacks, even if I can't easily qualify the drawbacks. Why achieve these things through lies when you can get the same basic effects through truthfulness?

I can also perceive some benefits of being honest that aren't realized through the current traditions of deceit.
- Greater appreciation of their parents b/c they realize that they are the ones who get them all those presents and candy
- Greater appreciation of the cost of items b/c they realize that toys have to be bought in stores and aren't just made by a bunch of elves
- Greater consideration of other people on holidays b/c they would realize at a younger age that the only way people get gifts is if people (not Santa or a giant rabbit or a deranged winged lady that collects old teeth) get them for them (this applies both to family members and OTHERS as well, including those living in poverty and the homeless)
- More realistic view of the world in general (as previouly noted in this thread, this will NOT thwart their imagination altogether as children will still use their imagination at almost any chance they get)
- Fostering of a more honest relationship with their parents b/c the parents don't perpetrate some big lie at least once a year

I do have to admit, however, that my memories of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and the Shoe Fairy* are really fond ones, and also that I don't remember feeling scarred or traumatized in any way when I found out the truth. There still could be ill effects of this practice of lying to kids though, even if I'm not directly aware of any impact on myself.

And by the way of a concession to the side of telling chlidren these stories, I do see how it can foster the feeling in them to do good - act morally - even when no one is looking, b/c they get used to the idea that Santa can always see them.

*My Dad used to tell me that if I left my shoes in the middle of the living room overnight that some sort of fairy would put candy in them, and sure enough, most of the time I did it that fairy (my father obviously) left candy in my shoes. I've never heard of this from anyone else, so I guess my Dad was just getting creative with this one.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 03:32 pm
@Deftil,
Deftil,

Thanks for your post; looks like you've thought this through to very-much the same place that I did. Your points are valid and; I believe, the more one thinks this through the more the thoughtful individual might conceptualize the far-reaching effects.

I especially like this sentiment...

Deftil wrote:
I think there are other, more constructive (and truthful) ways that parents could foster the positive feelings and effects that children get from these stories in their kids... ... Why achieve these things through lies when you can get the same basic effects through truthfulness?


Completely true; and I believe the benefits of doing just that are farther reaching than most folks will admit. I could write volumes on just the few I see.

I specifically omitted religious overtones; but in all truthfulness, I think this may be the largest factor. I'll not go into what the implications of this are, but taken to its logical conclusion one can decide for themselves (sufficient to say that I think they're significant). Children are extremely-vulnerable to any implantation - on airs of authority by a parent - of concepts of a fantasy or magical nature. Weening them into sentience through painful honesty mixed with love, attention and lots of patience leads to a more productive and less disillusioned life.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 
boagie
 
Reply Tue 21 Oct, 2008 04:05 pm
@Khethil,
Khethil,Smile

I agree, I think those whom justify it do so at the expense of their integrity. When I found out as a child that Santa was really my parents, they lost a good deal of crediability which made me wary of what further things they told me. When my wife and I had our daughter, I stated that I wished not to lie to her about this Santa Clause, I was simply overwhelmed with resistence to this idea, my wife and both sides of the family stood against me. What kind of beast would do a child out of Santa Clause, they wanted to know. The majority carried the day. When my daughter was grown she expressed how embrassed and hurt she was to have been lie to, not knowing that I was the only hold out in this conspiracy. Pehaps the widespread practice of this has something to do with the guilt of the parents, not wanting the child to realize the harshness of this world that they have mindlessly brought innocence into-- just a thought.Smile
 
Agnapostate
 
Reply Sun 26 Oct, 2008 10:13 pm
@Richardgrant,
Richardgrant wrote:
agnapostate
I have found as I awaken to who I am that the unseen world, or spiritual world is the real world, and the material world is a reflection of the spiritual world, the greater my imagination the greater my creation. So in actual fact what our parents taught us may not have been far from the truth when they played santa clause.


Regardless, I wouldn't recommend it as a general practice. Not all children might have perceived the overlap of the material and spiritual worlds in the same manner as yourself.
 
salima
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 09:05 pm
@Khethil,
i know this is an old thread, but it is a subject that i dwellt on heavily for lots of years of my life. please bear with me while i relate my experience.

when i was a child i believed in santa claus, my parents told me it was true and all around me it was validated. it didnt make me feel good or bad, i really didnt care, it was just something that i thought was true. at some point in time, some kid in school told me it wasnt true. so i went home and asked my parents, and they said 'of course it is true!'

now, i had a dilemma. were my parents lying? was the kid lying? i decided the kid must be stupid or mean, and believed my parents. i am not kidding, until i was 12 YEARS OLD i absolutely had faith that there was a santa claus and believed in my parents. i can also attest to the fact that i was an unbalanced child, so maybe that takes me out of the quotient altogether. are we discussing the effects of the story on only mentally balanced children? how many of them are there anyway, do we know?

ok, so finally i had to admit that there was no santa claus. that meant (in my warped logic) that my parents were liars and couldnt be trusted. it also meant the vast majority of people in society, children and adults included were idiots. it also meant that most of what they believed in was probably false. i threw out every single belief i had, and within a couple of years decided to commit suicide because life was so horrible i thought no matter what death was it couldnt be any worse.

but the good side is that all of this forced me to examine and analyze everything i came up against in life. it was certainly the hard way and i took a lot of wrong turns but i am doing a lot better now. after a long time i realized my parents were only doing what they thought best, and of course they took the easy way out. i stopped blaming them. i forgave them, but i still dont trust them. as for society, i have various opinions about why they believe things that i can see are illogical but that is not the issue here.

so now when it is time for me to decide how to deal with this issue with my own son, i am thinking...if i tell him right away there is no santa claus, he will be a very smart little child but all the other kids will cry and their parents wont let them play with him and we will have a lot of trouble. so what do i do? i agonized over this issue for years, literally, because it had been that much of a trauma for me.

so finally i decided what i would do. i thought i will tell him the story in this way:
'here is a story people like to tell around christmastime. it is only a story to celebrate the season and remind us to be kind and thoughtful to each other all year long' etc etc. i said 'some people believe this story is really true and others dont. so dont make anyone feel bad by telling them it isnt true, and you can believe whatever you want.

so...my son then said 'so when is he coming to our house?' i laughed my head off-end of tension, and i almost forgot all about the whole issue until i stumbled on this post.

what is my point? i dont know. maybe it will be a trauma only for kids who are not quite right in the head, but it can also be turned into a reason for searching for truth and valuing it when it is reached, or its ideal in case we never reach it. but there are all the other things you do to bring up a child that have a bearing on how something will affect them. my parents had shortcomings in major areas, this is not the only thing that upset the apple cart.
 
Richardgrant
 
Reply Fri 15 May, 2009 10:42 pm
@salima,
Salina, as I awaken to who I Am, I can only share with others my awakening, which comes from within the Oneness. I have found that what I perceive out there is a reflection of my creations, as I take full responsibility for those perceptions, knowing that it all started within me.

I can blame nobody else for what happens in my life, all the mistakes I have made in waking up have been my blessings. for it's only through suffering will I realize who I AM.

What is being reflected back to me is my thoughts in motion. for I use my thoughts to manifest in the material world. that which I wish to learn.
Richard



salima wrote:
i know this is an old thread, but it is a subject that i dwellt on heavily for lots of years of my life. please bear with me while i relate my experience.

when i was a child i believed in santa claus, my parents told me it was true and all around me it was validated. it didnt make me feel good or bad, i really didnt care, it was just something that i thought was true. at some point in time, some kid in school told me it wasnt true. so i went home and asked my parents, and they said 'of course it is true!'

now, i had a dilemma. were my parents lying? was the kid lying? i decided the kid must be stupid or mean, and believed my parents. i am not kidding, until i was 12 YEARS OLD i absolutely had faith that there was a santa claus and believed in my parents. i can also attest to the fact that i was an unbalanced child, so maybe that takes me out of the quotient altogether. are we discussing the effects of the story on only mentally balanced children? how many of them are there anyway, do we know?

ok, so finally i had to admit that there was no santa claus. that meant (in my warped logic) that my parents were liars and couldnt be trusted. it also meant the vast majority of people in society, children and adults included were idiots. it also meant that most of what they believed in was probably false. i threw out every single belief i had, and within a couple of years decided to commit suicide because life was so horrible i thought no matter what death was it couldnt be any worse.

but the good side is that all of this forced me to examine and analyze everything i came up against in life. it was certainly the hard way and i took a lot of wrong turns but i am doing a lot better now. after a long time i realized my parents were only doing what they thought best, and of course they took the easy way out. i stopped blaming them. i forgave them, but i still dont trust them. as for society, i have various opinions about why they believe things that i can see are illogical but that is not the issue here.

so now when it is time for me to decide how to deal with this issue with my own son, i am thinking...if i tell him right away there is no santa claus, he will be a very smart little child but all the other kids will cry and their parents wont let them play with him and we will have a lot of trouble. so what do i do? i agonized over this issue for years, literally, because it had been that much of a trauma for me.

so finally i decided what i would do. i thought i will tell him the story in this way:
'here is a story people like to tell around christmastime. it is only a story to celebrate the season and remind us to be kind and thoughtful to each other all year long' etc etc. i said 'some people believe this story is really true and others dont. so dont make anyone feel bad by telling them it isnt true, and you can believe whatever you want.

so...my son then said 'so when is he coming to our house?' i laughed my head off-end of tension, and i almost forgot all about the whole issue until i stumbled on this post.

what is my point? i dont know. maybe it will be a trauma only for kids who are not quite right in the head, but it can also be turned into a reason for searching for truth and valuing it when it is reached, or its ideal in case we never reach it. but there are all the other things you do to bring up a child that have a bearing on how something will affect them. my parents had shortcomings in major areas, this is not the only thing that upset the apple cart.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 07:26 am
@Richardgrant,
I wonder if telling your child that Jesus exists is more or less damaging?It took me a lot longer to work that one out for myself and for many it is still a fact of life.
Tell me who has more proof of Jesus than Santa?My parents never prolonged the magical stories of Santa or fairies as much as they did of Jesus.I believed in a lot more than my parents ever told me, every book was reenacted. Peter Pan sat outside my window for months and his pipes can still be heard on a warm summers evening.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 08:30 am
@xris,
Thanks Salima and Xris,

I still think this is a valid concern (though to what extent I can't say - thus my post). Santa's not the problem - at least not specifically - Salima's example of this experience outlines the problems with lying to our children.

Xris brings up a capital point and the most logical permutation of this entire line of inquiry: What do we do to our young when we tell them there IS justice through a god, that there IS magic and mysticism? How high shall we set them up - only that they may fall further, later. Or have inculcated a belief system not of their own making.

I just feel that lying to our children about ANYTHING 'supernatural' or 'magic' is PARTICULARLY damaging. We're all in want of "something more" from the bland existence ostensive reality shows us, but children are particularly vulnerable in that the lies of the supernatural we install now have potential set them up for subconscious disillusionment later.

How valid is this? I don't know... tis why I ask.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 08:41 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Thanks Salima and Xris,

I still think this is a valid concern (though to what extent I can't say - thus my post). Santa's not the problem - at least not specifically - Salima's example of this experience outlines the problems with lying to our children.

Xris brings up a capital point and the most logical permutation of this entire line of inquiry: What do we do to our young when we tell them there IS justice through a god, that there IS magic and mysticism? How high shall we set them up - only that they may fall further, later. Or have inculcated a belief system not of their own making.

I just feel that lying to our children about ANYTHING 'supernatural' or 'magic' is PARTICULARLY damaging. We're all in want of "something more" from the bland existence ostensive reality shows us, but children are particularly vulnerable in that the lies of the supernatural we install now have potential set them up for subconscious disillusionment later.

How valid is this? I don't know... tis why I ask.
I can understand your concern but it is down to balance and encouraging imagination not indoctrination.Childhood should be about magic as well as the awful facts that we gradually introduce our children to.Do you show a picture of a butchered cow when you first feed a meat pie to your child?Letting an eight year old carry the spell of Santa to school is bordering on neglect and gives him a bad name for that child.Instead of remembered magic, it is of embarrassment and delusion.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sat 16 May, 2009 10:36 am
@Khethil,
I always enjoyed letting my imagination run riot when I was a kid, believing in magic etc and I still read/show an interest it now, (not that i believe i just like to study it), on the flip side i was upset when my belief in santa claus was shattered when i was eight by my best friend.

I dont think there is anything wrong in it but as i dont have kids i dont have to face the dilema about santa clause etc. I think it's obviously easier when they're past a certain age where they know what is fantasy and what is real.
I always enjoyed the magic of xmas when i was a kid, my mum used to sprinkle glitter onto the carpet and say that it was fairydust left by santa's fairies-magic.
 
salima
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 12:13 am
@Caroline,
i always enjoyed what i saw as the magic of christmas as a grown-up. i lived in a major city with lots of people oblivious to each other at best, often rude. but at christmastime everything changed, and people smiled more, there was less chance of road rage, etc...or did i imagine it? people held doors open for each other, helped each other, said good morning when they had been silent for years.

the things parents could teach their children about xmas, and i mean even very small children, are brotherhood, sympathy, generosity, and they could do it in more straightforward ways than using made up stories. they could show by example how to be kind to others, how to use that time of year to remember people less fortunate or forgotten or housebound. because no matter how hard we try to remember kindness daily, it seems to get lost in the muddle of our busy lives.

why cant santa claus just be a story about an old man who a long time ago used to take gifts to people on christmas day?

i probably sound like i am preaching now, kick me off the soapbox. :surrender:

but while we are on the subject, the fairy tales i was told when i was a kid were some of the most gruesome, violent and frightening stories i ever heard. i know that has been addressed by other people more clever than i am, so it must be traumatic for normal kids too, not just wackos like me.

for instance, when i was five years old my favorite story was the steadfast tin soldier. i dont want to take up space here telling it, but it is a really sick story which i interpretted as a love story and continued to act out most of my life. :brickwall:in fact i dont think i have even now recovered!
 
Richardgrant
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 02:40 am
@salima,
salima, as I awaken to who I Am, we are all souls where there is no age factor waking up. I now realize I am the the creator of every thing that happens in my life from child hood, so the traumas I create are all my doing which are my blessings in life helping me to wake up. The days of blaming somebody out there for what happens are no more.

We attract into our life that which we want to learn, the ulimate purpose of any problem aims at healing the illness of separation, what you see out there are your thoughts being reflected back to you. Richard
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 04:48 am
@Richardgrant,
I think that sooner or later we're all faced with a reality that has its own face. The days turn into years and all those "things" we hoped for as children take on a new meaning; a meaning that's conspicuously absent of the magic we thought of them.

Like I said before, I don't know to what extent these things have an effect. I do honestly believe that the more we present reality *as* reality and give hope rather than lies, the more likely our young are to make this transition without quite so much mirth.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 05:21 am
@Khethil,
I admit that after finding out that santa and his fairies weren't real i suffered severe dissapointment, I tend to forget about that side of it. I think you shouldn't deceive your kids but at the same time let their imagination develop but a reallity check would avoid later dissapointment. I heard that some critics said that the Harry Potter books were wrong in doing just that, encouraging children to believe in a world of magic that they would later find out was pure fantasy.
 
xris
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 06:18 am
@Caroline,
I think you are making too much of this innocent exchange of magic.There are so many other concerns that we should protect our kids from,santa or the tooth fairy give so much magic and mystery, leave them alone.
Kids are more resilient to these awareness of certain myths than we give them credit for.I was never harmed by them nor my children, exaggerations of the harm is silly.I believe in fairies..
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 06:42 am
@Khethil,
I thought what the critics were saying was a bit much, it's just kids having fun. I believe in faeries too.
 
 

 
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