Any 4th graders still believe in Santa? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 43 Old 11-23-2010, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dh and I have a dilemma.  First off, as a brief background, we've never really hyped up Santa.  We played along because ds1 came home from preschool one day already believing he was real, but we've never made a big deal about it.  Also, this is the first year my kids are in school - we previously homeschooled.

 

Last year when ds1 was 8 he had asked me a few times if Santa was real, but he always asked me in the car in front of ds2, so I kind of sidestepped the question, meaning to talk to him later about it.  But then I just didn't.  I don't know why - I should have.

 

So now he's in 4th grade at public school, and he hasn't asked lately about Santa being real.  He did mention Santa at one point (his question was that if Santa brought him a Nintendo DS, would we let him play it), so my assumption is he still believes in him.

 

However, I am getting really nervous that ds will mention it on the playground and get teased or otherwise humiliated around a group of kids who have known for years there is no Santa.  Dh and I are wondering if we should pull him aside and let him know the truth, but both of us feel weird initiating that conversation. 

 

So, in your experience, are there ever any 4th graders who still believe in Santa? 

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#2 of 43 Old 11-23-2010, 10:18 AM
 
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By 4th grade, probably the majority of the kids know that Santa’s not real. But, I’m sure there are some kids that might still believe.

 

I haven’t been in your position because I’ve always made it clear to our kids that Santa isn’t real. However, I’ve also let my kids know that sometimes it’s fun to pretend that he’s real (also the tooth fairy) and that they could pretend if they like.

They also know that there might be other kids who believe he’s real and that they are to respect that.

 

Our kids make up a Christmas wish list and know that we’re the ones who will make the purchases. But up until about age 7 or so, they still liked talking about Santa and the Tooth fairy.

What I’m saying is that, for us, it’s been possible to be truthful and yet still allow the kids to enjoy their childhood fantasies.

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#3 of 43 Old 11-23-2010, 12:51 PM
 
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I don't know if dd has any classmates that still believe, but I'd definitely make sure he's "in on the fun" at this point. 

 

Why not ask him if he wants to help you do some "Santa work" and choose gifts for Santa to bring to his brother--and see where that goes.  Chances are he already has an inkling, and that could open up an opportunity for him to ask questions or fill in gaps without a Big Talk.  Keep the focus on how much fun it is do be Santa!

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#4 of 43 Old 11-23-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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My daughter who is in 6th grade found out about Santa for sure last year when she was in 5th grade.  I suspected that she was almost sure in 4th grade because she didn't talk about Santa much that year--I decided to let her lead and would of answered if she had asked.  A year ago she made a point of running an errand with me alone.  While we were in the car she asked me to tell her the truth wether or not Santa was real.  At that point she said some of her friends still believed and others didn't.  We continued with a good conversation during which she agreed to let her younger sister believe for as long as she wants to.  She seemed to enjoy being in on the secret where her sister was concerned last year.

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#5 of 43 Old 11-23-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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My 4th grader still believes - at least she really wants to still believe.   So, I suppose she knows deep down that Santa isn't real (and has said so a couple times), but she goes back and forth and has decided to hold on to the hope that he exists.  I have mixed feelings about it, and part of me really wants to confirm the truth for her b/c it seems silly to lie and go along with it (just me, with her in particular), but I can see how much she'd still like to believe, and since she's 9 and not like 12, I'm going along with it.  Also, she has 3 younger brothers who would be bummed to find out at this point, so I'm just going with the flow. 

 

But, yeah, I don't know that there are many other 4th graders out there who still really believe in Santa.  I was talking to someone the other day whose 11 yr old just this year realized he wasn't real - and that seemed on the older end of kids believing, yet my DD will be 10 in March, so I can see how some kids still hold on to it for a bit longer. 


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#6 of 43 Old 11-23-2010, 07:39 PM
 
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4th grade is when my younger sister found out about Santa in front of her class when someone made a joke about it.  She's still upset about it 20 years later!  In my family Santa was never overtly denied, but as we got older it became more of a "wink wink" kind of thing whenever Santa was mentioned. I guess my sister just didn't pick up on the winking!  If I were you, I'd start the conversation with DS by first asking him what *he* thinks about Santa. Most likely he has some suspicions but is trying to hang on to the wonder of Santa.  You can let him know that it's ok to continue to play along and that Santa can be a part of Christmas for years to come... but you can also give him the chance to help out with Santa, too, which can be fun.  I was ambivalent about letting go of Santa for years, so I understand!  (With my kids we've told them from the beginning that Santa is a "game" that many people play around Christmas and that we all pretend to believe, too... partially because of my sister's experience!).


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#7 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 06:16 AM
 
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My ds is in 3rd grade and a young 3rd grader as well.  He just turned 8.  Like the OP, he asked once in front of his younger sibling so we side-stepped the issue with the intention of talking about it later.  He said "Is Santa real?  I think that the parents buy the gifts and put Santa's name on them."  But a few days later he was excited to write a list for Santa and eagerly went to Santa to get a gift at dh's work party.  So, I think he "knows" but has not completely accepted it.  Of course, the talk of Christmas is just beginning so who knows what conversations they will have at school and what kind of questions ds will have.  We have always talked about the magic of Christmas and why dh and I love the season so hopefully that will rub off and he will be excited to share in the fun with his younger siblings.  


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#8 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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I revealed the truth about Santa to a 13 year old (because I didn't realize she still believed) but in her case her mom was actively keeping up the lie, er "story".

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#9 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I revealed the truth about Santa to a 13 year old (because I didn't realize she still believed) but in her case her mom was actively keeping up the lie, er "story".



See, to me, that seems a bit odd - to try to convince a 13 yr old that santa is real.  I'm sure it depends on the kid (maturity?), but I feel weird enough lying to my 9.5 yr old when she asks.  I kinda can't wait for it to be over - even though I'm sure someday I'll look back with fond memories when my kids were little and believed in the magic of Santa.  It's just something that I have mixed feelings on - tooth fairy, too.  I think 10-11+ is when I'd start to feel even more uncomfortable keeping the fantasy going. 


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#10 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 11:07 AM
 
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I revealed the truth about Santa to a 13 year old (because I didn't realize she still believed) but in her case her mom was actively keeping up the lie, er "story".



See, to me, that seems a bit odd - to try to convince a 13 yr old that santa is real.  I'm sure it depends on the kid (maturity?), but I feel weird enough lying to my 9.5 yr old when she asks.  I kinda can't wait for it to be over - even though I'm sure someday I'll look back with fond memories when my kids were little and believed in the magic of Santa.  It's just something that I have mixed feelings on - tooth fairy, too.  I think 10-11+ is when I'd start to feel even more uncomfortable keeping the fantasy going. 


I think that every family should do it the way they feel they ought to.  I think it's VERY disrespectful to try tell someone outside of the immediate family  that Santa is a lie that their family has been deceiving them with all these years.  Leave it to the family to decide how to handle it.  I put it in the same category as religion.  I don't think anyone would try to convince a 13 year old that their family's spiritual beliefs are bogus and think that there is a time to end the "fantasy" of their religion.  If a person is uncomfortable keeping up the "ruse" in their own family, I can respect that... but I think it's important to respect what other families are doing even if it goes against your own personal beliefs... and I don't think it's very nice to be flippant about telling a person of any age... whether they are 3 or 13 or 30.  This is very much a "to each their own" situation, IME.

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#11 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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My son's only in 3rd grade and I'm just waiting for someone at school to tell him.  He does, kind of, still believe.  I've never flat out lied to him to make him keep it going, but I think he's suspicious.  At this point, I'll answer any questions (out of his little brother's hearing) but I'm not going to bring it up

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#12 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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I revealed the truth about Santa to a 13 year old (because I didn't realize she still believed) but in her case her mom was actively keeping up the lie, er "story".



See, to me, that seems a bit odd - to try to convince a 13 yr old that santa is real.  I'm sure it depends on the kid (maturity?), but I feel weird enough lying to my 9.5 yr old when she asks.  I kinda can't wait for it to be over - even though I'm sure someday I'll look back with fond memories when my kids were little and believed in the magic of Santa.  It's just something that I have mixed feelings on - tooth fairy, too.  I think 10-11+ is when I'd start to feel even more uncomfortable keeping the fantasy going. 


I think that every family should do it the way they feel they ought to.  I think it's VERY disrespectful to try tell someone outside of the immediate family  that Santa is a lie that their family has been deceiving them with all these years.  Leave it to the family to decide how to handle it.  I put it in the same category as religion.  I don't think anyone would try to convince a 13 year old that their family's spiritual beliefs are bogus and think that there is a time to end the "fantasy" of their religion.  If a person is uncomfortable keeping up the "ruse" in their own family, I can respect that... but I think it's important to respect what other families are doing even if it goes against your own personal beliefs... and I don't think it's very nice to be flippant about telling a person of any age... whether they are 3 or 13 or 30.  This is very much a "to each their own" situation, IME.

Oh, I agree, and wouldn't tell someone else what to believe or what is real or not.  I was just saying I happen to think it's a bit odd for a 13 yr old's family to go along with the Santa thing - but that is obviously just my own opinion, and I think most 13 yo's are mature enough and have a good sense of reality, so truly believing in Santa at that point seems pretty unlikely.  Just so you know, I would never comment to any kid or family directly that their beliefs are odd - just here and in discussion elsewhere.  It's not my place to enlighten anyone to what I feel is real or not - whether it's about god or santa ;)
 


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#13 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

Oh, I agree, and wouldn't tell someone else what to believe or what is real or not.  I was just saying I happen to think it's a bit odd for a 13 yr old's family to go along with the Santa thing - but that is obviously just my own opinion, and I think most 13 yo's are mature enough and have a good sense of reality, so truly believing in Santa at that point seems pretty unlikely.  Just so you know, I would never comment to any kid or family directly that their beliefs are odd - just here and in discussion elsewhere.  It's not my place to enlighten anyone to what I feel is real or not - whether it's about god or santa ;)

 



And I didn't mean to imply that you personally would tell (I apologize that it came across that way)... however it's obvious that others think it's no big deal to "tell the truth", which is actually THEIR truth and not necessarily that family's truth.  There are adults who think there is an omniscient, omnipotent, grey old man living in the clouds who decides who dies and who does not based on the sincerity of their pleas... and most people don't think that they are immature and lack a sense of reality.  So, I don't see anything wrong with a 13 year old still believing in Santa, if that's what the family wants to do.  It has nothing to do with maturity, but a set of personal beliefs.

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#14 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 04:40 PM
 
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It's a very awkward time of year for elementary teachers, I can tell you that. I'd walk around with my ears in super-duper-santa-talk-detection mode. And still miss some... I had a parent read me the riot act because her son found out about Santa from another student. It happened after school, at their lockers, but I think she was looking for someone to blame. Her son took it pretty hard (he was a sensitive little soul who took things very seriously) and I felt bad he found out how he did, but... even the best-intentioned kids are still pretty impulsive at that age. The kid who spilled the beans KNEW he wasn't supposed to spill the beans, and wasn't trying to be mean or show off his newfound knowledge; he was just talking to a friend and it slipped. 4th graders can be a mixed bag, in my experience. Probably more non-believers than believers, but still mixed. It's hard, as a teacher, to remind the non-believers not to spill the beans, because (a) you never know who still does Santa and who doesn't, (b) reminding the entire group would have to go something like, "You know that thing that some of you know isn't real? Remember not to tell anyone else," and that would just cause way more problems than it would solve, and (c) I don't like asking kids to lie, though I realize that's pretty much what's expected of the non-believers.

 

My sister's best friend "believed" until 6th grade. However, when her mom finally broke it to her (she was convinced her daughter would be heartbroken), she said, "I know. I just didn't want to make you sad by telling you I knew."


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#15 of 43 Old 11-24-2010, 11:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was uncomfortable from the beginning about lying about Santa, so really never brought it up myself.   (Although I have nothing but wonderful magical memories of Santa from when I was a kid).  And even when ds would say things to me that he'd heard, like "If you're bad you don't get presents" I would launch into my speech about how all children are wonderful, beautiful souls and behavior has nothing to do with receiving presents.  We always told him that the Santas in the mall and such were just regular people dressed up.  I wasn't even going to do the tooth fairy, until my mom showed up one day with special tooth fairy pillows and told them the whole magical story - they got so excited that again, I couldn't bear to break the news to them.

 

I guess we'll just play it by ear.  Hopefully he'll bring it up again, and we can have the conversation on his terms.  Honestly, I'll be relieved when it's over.  Keeping the secret, separate wrapping paper, etc. - I just find it exhausting.  I guess because I try to downplay it as much as possible, I don't get manyfuzzy magical feelings from it.  I mainly feel anxiety worrying about whether my kids will feel betrayed or not.  However, on the flip side, I do feel sad to reach the milestone of my kids no longer believing in Santa.  They are getting so big.  Sniff.

 

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#16 of 43 Old 11-25-2010, 02:28 AM
 
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I'm an adult and I still believe in Santa. wink1.gif

My daughter is in 5th grade and for the last year or so has been making comments to the effect that she knows Santa is not real. She's never directly asked about Santa, but recently I found myself talking about the Polar Express, which has been one of my favorite Christmas movies since it came out.

I do believe in Santa, in that he represents the spirit of Christmas in each of our hearts. He may not be literal, but that doesn't make him any less real. I think my daughter understands that since she is old enough to grasp abstract concepts. Santa can be seen, not as something that is either "real" or "just a story", but as an example of faith and belief. I think the Polar Express really illustrates this well.
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#17 of 43 Old 11-25-2010, 05:10 AM
 
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Right around the start of school my 4th grader asked me directly.  I told him the truth, I also told him that we all enjoy magic and that Santa is truly in our hearts, souls, and spirits.  So we still play Santa, even though both of my big kids know the truth (part of it is fun, part of it is that we have a 2 year old that we want to continue the magic with).


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#18 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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I revealed the truth about Santa to a 13 year old (because I didn't realize she still believed) but in her case her mom was actively keeping up the lie, er "story".



See, to me, that seems a bit odd - to try to convince a 13 yr old that santa is real.  I'm sure it depends on the kid (maturity?), but I feel weird enough lying to my 9.5 yr old when she asks.  I kinda can't wait for it to be over - even though I'm sure someday I'll look back with fond memories when my kids were little and believed in the magic of Santa.  It's just something that I have mixed feelings on - tooth fairy, too.  I think 10-11+ is when I'd start to feel even more uncomfortable keeping the fantasy going. 


I think that every family should do it the way they feel they ought to.  I think it's VERY disrespectful to try tell someone outside of the immediate family  that Santa is a lie that their family has been deceiving them with all these years.  Leave it to the family to decide how to handle it.  I put it in the same category as religion.  I don't think anyone would try to convince a 13 year old that their family's spiritual beliefs are bogus and think that there is a time to end the "fantasy" of their religion.  If a person is uncomfortable keeping up the "ruse" in their own family, I can respect that... but I think it's important to respect what other families are doing even if it goes against your own personal beliefs... and I don't think it's very nice to be flippant about telling a person of any age... whether they are 3 or 13 or 30.  This is very much a "to each their own" situation, IME.

It was entirely accidental. Although I thought it was idiotic, if I had known that her mom was still lying to her, I wouldn't have spilled the beans.


Actually, I didn't even tell her Santa wasn't real, I let her know that ONE present was from her single mom. It was a coat that her mom had my parents store at their house because she didn't want her dd to see that the present was in the house before Christmas--so that it could "magically appear" from Santa.

 

I found out, after everyone jumped on me for commenting "oh your mom worked really hard to keep that coat a surprise!" (remember, I had no idea whatsoever that there was any attempt to keep the Santa story going), that apparently the girl only got presents from Santa.

 

Anyway, like I said, I wouldn't have said anything if I had known, but I'm also not about to start assuming that 13 year olds still believe in Santa.

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#19 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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I think what gets me about the Santa thing is that people get mad when their kids are told another story. I mean, if it's a family's right to believe like people believe in various gods, then shouldn't the etiquette be the same? You don't jump down the throat of someone who tells your kid that they don't believe in Jesus or whatever, but all the time people get up in arms that some kid found out about Santa "too soon".

 

Either it's important enough that you can talk about differences of belief with your kids, or it isn't important enough to make a fuss.

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#20 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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When my son was in 4th grade, he and a friend weren't sure about Santa. So they googled him. smile.gif

 

(We talked about the spirit of Santa, and how nice it was to believe in someone who gave gifts to all kids, and how now that he was older he should be careful not to tell the secret to younger kids.)

 

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#21 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 07:38 PM
 
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My grade one dd just announced at a family party on the weekend that she no longer believed...she said all the kids at school don't either (montessori grade 1-3 class). 

 

We were shocked to say the least. At first I never wanted to lie about it and thought it was something I wouldn't do, but then the magical part of my memories created a desire to go along with it and she has been pretty into it for the past few years....but now what?  

 

We talked to her about the magic of believing in faeries and other forest creatures and how she was so lucky to believe in these things because it allowed her to see them when there were so many others out there that cannot. We said that santa is just like those creatures...but we didn't go much further, the family (extended) made it totally akward and I was cringing all evening and eyeballing anyone who kept bringing it up. We left it alone today and I have no idea if we should just let it go entirely and see what she says in the future or talk about it more?

 

Grade 4 seemed about when I expected, but grade 1?  6 years old seems just too young?


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#22 of 43 Old 11-28-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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I was in second grade when my mom told me, and I remember not being surprised, so maybe it's not so outside the norm? No clue if I was normal or not, though. lol.gif I'm sure not normal now.

 

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My grade one dd just announced at a family party on the weekend that she no longer believed...she said all the kids at school don't either (montessori grade 1-3 class). 

 

We were shocked to say the least. At first I never wanted to lie about it and thought it was something I wouldn't do, but then the magical part of my memories created a desire to go along with it and she has been pretty into it for the past few years....but now what?  

 

We talked to her about the magic of believing in faeries and other forest creatures and how she was so lucky to believe in these things because it allowed her to see them when there were so many others out there that cannot. We said that santa is just like those creatures...but we didn't go much further, the family (extended) made it totally akward and I was cringing all evening and eyeballing anyone who kept bringing it up. We left it alone today and I have no idea if we should just let it go entirely and see what she says in the future or talk about it more?

 

Grade 4 seemed about when I expected, but grade 1?  6 years old seems just too young?




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#23 of 43 Old 11-29-2010, 11:37 AM
 
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I agree with this.  My 3 and 5 year olds know the truth about Santa, and I've cautioned them not to talk about it at school because other people believe different things and we don't want to ruin the fun for anyone.  But if one of them accidentally slips and mentions it, should my kids (or I) be blamed? I mean, we're all entitled to different beliefs, and I'm entitled to tell my children the "truth" as much as anyone else is entitled to tell a different story to their kids.  Why should I have to lie to my kids just to protect the beliefs of other kids??  (I'm feeling defensive because parents always say "but what if they tell the other kids???" when they find out that my kids "know", and I'm a bit nervous that my talkative little 3 year old is going to discuss it at school... but then I resent being nervous about that!).  Sorry, a little OT, I know, but it was on my mind because of this thread.
 

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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

I think what gets me about the Santa thing is that people get mad when their kids are told another story. I mean, if it's a family's right to believe like people believe in various gods, then shouldn't the etiquette be the same? You don't jump down the throat of someone who tells your kid that they don't believe in Jesus or whatever, but all the time people get up in arms that some kid found out about Santa "too soon".

 

Either it's important enough that you can talk about differences of belief with your kids, or it isn't important enough to make a fuss.




Mommy to two boys, ages 4 and 6.

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#24 of 43 Old 11-30-2010, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think anyone should lie to their kids to protect lies their parents tell them.  However, I don't think it's too much to ask for a certain amount of general respect for different beliefs.  My neice goes to Catholic School, and talks often about Jesus and God.  My kids know that Jesus and God are something that some people believe in, but that we don't.  (They also know that they are welcome to develop their own belief system, and it may very well be different from ours.)  We have discussed that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, and that it would be very rude and disrespectful to push our beliefs onto them by saying to her "Jesus isn't real."  There are children in our school who have to leave the classroom during a birthday celebration because of their religious beliefs, and even though my kids think it's ridiculous, I would be mortified if they were anything but respectful for that child's beliefs.

 

Also, I'm not really afraid of someone telling him that Santa isn't real - my main concern is him being teased for it.

 

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#25 of 43 Old 11-30-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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I'm surprised to know that many 4th graders believe in Santa, but I am out of the loop on this. 

 

We don't do Santa. I let DS' teacher know just so she'd have a heads-up. I've told him that other kids' parents tell them Santa's real not a story like we've told him, and that it might hurt other kids' feelings if he broke the news. That said, if he did, I certainly wouldn't be upset with him, and I wouldn't stand for him to be reprimanded for it at school either. It happens. Santa's not real, and kids are going to find out sooner or later.  


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#26 of 43 Old 11-30-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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 I doubt many 4th graders believe in Santa, and it's probably time to tell him. Hopefully others have a good method in doing this.

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#27 of 43 Old 11-30-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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For telling him, you could frame it as him being part of a big secret. He enjoyed the magic of Santa when he was a little kid and now that he's older he gets to help keep the magic for his little brother and other little kids.

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#28 of 43 Old 11-30-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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My fourth grader still believes in Santa.  My older dd, now in 6th grade, found out from a friend around Easter of her fourth grade year.  Until then, she still believed in Santa and all the other wonderful magical beings.  And some she still believes in, like fairies, gnomes, etc...  I would bet there are other 4th graders in your ds' class that still believe also. 

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#29 of 43 Old 11-30-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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I wouldn't stress.  Your DS very likely knows that Santa isn't real is and simply playing along because he knows it's a way of getting presents.  You can tell him that as long as he chooses to believe, Santa will be real.  He'll get the message.


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#30 of 43 Old 12-01-2010, 07:40 AM
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My 4th grader still believes.  Or, she says she believes.  I have a 2nd grader (not quite 7) who I suspect knows.  The older two (I also have a brand new 5 year old) have had a lively debate over the last couple of years about it.  Some kids at school say one thing, and others say another.  They have only asked me once (several years ago).  I turned it back around on them and asked them what they thought.  The oldest looked at me dead in the eye and said, "I want to believe."  They have studiously never asked since.  I have not tried to hide it from them, and have not been particularly sneaky about it.  We open most of our presents on Christmas Eve, and have "santa" presents on Christmas Day.  Right now, I'm following their lead on it.  I would say that the 4th grade class is probably around 50/50, given what I know of the kids in the class!


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