Originally Posted by cmlp
But you are essentially deceiving your child. Lying to him. Not that all lying is necessarily wrong, but that is what it is.
One of my WE children believed in gnomes, fairies, and the like (probably still does ), and my other one never has. (He's predominantly a "non-believer" by nature, period, though he did believe in Santa. I say "predominantly", because he actually has adopted what you might call "beliefs" from time to time, but they're definitely all
his own - nobody else on the planet
shares them )
But I think it's a mistake to presume that children believe in things because they're "lied to" by anyone, including parents or teachers. They usually *conclude* these creatures they hear about in story or song or play are real, at least they do until someone else takes it upon themselves to inform the child otherwise. If I understand Montessori's philosophy correctly, I think even she perceived that in young children, fantasy and reality are one and the same. Separating concepts into categories, the "real" from the "imaginary", is a more adult preoccupation, relatively speaking. Or mature
, I guess, rather than adult
. I agree with Steiner that in middle childhood children do appear to naturally develop this new consciousness that the world is more complicated than it first seemed, that magic is usually not, that people pretend to believe in things when they really don't, etc.
|DH and I always have this debate about Santa Claus because I don't want to tell my DD that Santa exists and will bring her presents. I would rather she knew that they came from us. He thinks that we would be "robbing her of her childhood" if we don't let her believe in Santa. I have to say, I have never met a child who felt "robbed" of her childhood because her parents told her that Santa was a myth. If anything, these children seem to feel privileged to know that adults respected them enough to tell them the truth![/
Really? I'm very
In my experience, most children want to believe, very much so. In fact, it's often a little bit depressing for them to have belief taken from them. I've just noticed this, not that my impressions are a real statistically valid assessment of all
children or anything.
When I was young, I completely believed in Santa (didn't even realize it was disputed!). One of my teachers presumed all the children already knew
, and inadvertently "spilled the beans". I was crushed, and promised I wasn't going to put my own children through the same heartbreak. So I never told any of my children there was a Santa. But they all believed in him all by themselves. So much for my plan to spare my children that
heartbreak over the truth about Santa!
Anyway, so much for my best laid plans and all that. I went to Plan B. I realized that my telling my children whether something was real or not real was usually very unwelcome to them. Two of my children were quite firm with anybody
telling them, and they'd argue with anyone who tried.
So I found the best approach with my own children was also the 100% honest one. When they ask, "Are fairies real?", I'd say something like "I've never seen them, and I know a lot of fairies we see are not real. Some people think there used to be real fairies, and some think they still live among us, but that we just can't see them anymore." I just know that with my own children, believer and non-believer, this is the sort of truth they really wanted from me.