Parents warned telling kids Santa Claus is real could cause long-term harm

Finding out Santa Claus isn't real is childhood trauma we can all relate to.

Whether it's your parents, or a relative who "thought you already new", the information isn't easy to handle.

Now it turns out keeping the fib away from your kids can lead to long-term issues.

READ MORE: 'I lost 80% of my stomach so can't eat much – here's what I'm having on Christmas Day'

Developmental psychologist Ameneh Shahaeian advised adults to not lie to their children about Father Christmas.

She told The Conversation: "Adults should not lie to children about Santa.

"When a child asks the question as to whether Santa is real or not, they're already at a developmental stage to distinguish between reality and fictional characters."

She continued: "When children reach this developmental stage, it's not helpful if we lie to them about a fictional character such as Santa."

Meanwhile, senior education lecturer at the Queensland University Rebecca English put forward a more practical view on Dr Ameneh's comments.

She said: "You shouldn't lie about Santa because you are encouraging your children, usually with made-up proof, to believe a morally ambiguous lie.

"I'm not alone in being devastated learning of my parents' elaborate deceit about Santa, leaving me to wonder what other lies they had told."

Rebecca continued: "Santa supposedly encourages imagination but, you're really asking children to suspend criticality and believe a fiction.

"Why defer your authority to an omniscient North-Poler, an interloping elf and colour changing baubles? You bought those presents; you should take the kudos!"

But psychologist Kelly-Ann Allen disagreed as she commented: "People who engage in rituals around Santa and Christmas are literally memory-making with their children.

"They're marking distinct occasions in time to be remembered in the future in a way that helps aid trans-generational family traditions and shared social experiences.

"Christmas rituals offer an opportunity for social belonging, which builds our social support networks and may even make us feel less lonely."

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