At what age do we stop telling white lies to our children

Article first published as How Old is too Old to Teach White Lies on Technorati.

As humans we are all quite different but most of us have the same basic rule… the no lying rule. But, parents lie, rather they “white lie” to their kids on a daily basis and for years of their child’s life. We do it to protect them, usually from things we don’t feel they are capable of truly comprehending.

Through the years, it has been acceptable to lie about Santa and all his holiday counterparts i.e.; The Tooth Fairy and The Easter Bunny. We even go so far as expanding on this lie so our kids do as we say, “If you don’t clean your room, Santa won’t leave gifts under the tree.” And the ever so wonderful, “I am going to tell Santa that you are being naughty.” That is funny because if Santa knows when you’ve been bad or good why would a parent need to tattle. Good thing kids don’t catch on to that one I guess.

I have no real problem with these “tall tales,” because I think believing in these non-existents can be compared to believing in other things we cannot see: ghosts, spirits, or even God. It is in my opinion, the first step to having faith in what you do not see but, many have or believe they have indeed witnessed. Although, what purpose do these make-believe characters posses? I mean it’s not like we will go to the North Pole when we die and become Santa’s elf or will we?

My question though, is at what age do we tell our kids that we lied and Santa doesn’t exist? Do we, the parents, tell them or allow the other children to tell them for us? How far do we let this go on before we enter bad parent territory?

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Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare. -Voltaire

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