A new study conducted by two psychologists has warned that parents encouraging the belief of Father Christmas can actually cause psychological damage and throw off a child’s moral compass.
The premise is simple. The fact that your parents can lie to you, even about something which is seen as magical and exciting, can lead a child’s trust in their parents to be undermined and leave them open to “abject disappointment” when they eventually discover that Santa doesn’t really exist. If a relationship between a parent and child is vulnerable, the child may come to realise that if their parents can lie so convincingly over a long period of time, they could be lying about other things too. In fact, one of the researchers stated that ‘this may be the final straw’.
The researchers also stated reasons why the ‘Santa lie’ is so global and why it continues to persist in today’s society. Firstly, they say, humans have a natural tendency to conform to what is around us, even if it seems illogical. In other words, our parents and friends and everyone around us tells us Santa is real when we are a child and thus we believe in him so as not to be left out. Second, the evidence suggests that even adults as well as children have an urge to escape reality though make believe and fantasy. So in a way, believing in Santa is a form of escapism for us all.
It does make sense, I mean let’s face it, Santa is one whole major lie and a creation of fiction. However, does believing in him make us all morally damaged? Perhaps not. If we are there are probably many other factors in that becoming the case. However one cannot simply ignore the research that has been done here. So, maybe Santa is simply just one of the factors that can leave us all psychologically damaged.
So there we go. Childhood ruined. Apologies.
By Beth Seaman