Parents have been urged to stop pretending Santa Claus is real in case the “lie” damages the relationship between parent and child.

Telling kids stories about Santa risks undermining a child’s trust and is morally suspect, according to Psychologist Professor Christopher Boyle and social scientist Dr Kathy McKay, who also condemn the idea of a “terrifying” North Pole intelligence agency which judges children to be nice or naughty, reports 9 news.

“If they (parents) are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?” the researchers have said in The Lancet Psychiatry.

They also suggested parents may not be motivated by thoughts of their children but a selfish desire to re-live their own childhood.

Prof Boyle defended the claims and said the morality of making children believe in such myths has to be questioned.

“All children will eventually find out they’ve been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they’ve been told,” he said.

Dr McKay, from the University of New England in Australia, said there was clear evidence from the world of make-believe in movies and TV that adults looked for a chance to be children again.

“The persistence of fandom in stories like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Doctor Who well into adulthood demonstrates this desire to briefly re-enter childhood,” she said.

Is nothing OK for parents anymore? Is it really so wrong to bring such joy to our children?

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  • I think let them believe until they ask as it is a precious thing and so sweet from a parent to see the innocence and excitement this brings kids.


  • I never have and never would force any of my kids to sit on Santa’s knee. It’s just not necessary and I’m definitely not going to scare my child for a silly photo. I always teach my children that Christmas is all about spending time with family and having a nice lunch together.


  • Seriously? I think I can decide what magic I want to create for my child vs what I would consider lies and protection for my child.


  • Personally I think that every parent can decide best what is ok and what is not ok to tell their children.


  • I don’t think any children these days really believe in Santa, but they do believe that by going along with the story they will get a gift under the tree – if they are old enough they read it’s from Auntie/Uncle/Grandma/Mum/or Sister Sue.


  • I agree, get rid of all the lies, tell children about real life, I am sick of all the red and white stuff every year. My mum grew up in a time that “Santa” did not exist, and she still shakes her head in disbelief that it has grown into what it is today. I think we really do teach kids to lie by what we do as parents.


  • So these experts say santa is harmful
    Well, what about “god” thats one hell of a dangerous myth, one made that many adults believe. It spreads hate, discrimination and sexism. Yet they wanna go after the fun loving, joyful, kind santa?


  • so over being nannied why can’t children enjoy childhood anymore – what shitty childhoods these so called experts must’ve had to want to ruin an exciting time like Christmas for Children… very sad if you don’t believe you don’t receive… hope they get coal in their stockings….


  • Cant we just let children be children, let the magic last, why should us as parents be told what we should and shouldn’t tell our children, I for one will not ruin the magic for my kids.


  • Leave it alone already. I never taught my kids about Santa but they learnt about him from books and movies anyway and decided to believe in him. It didn’t break my trust in my parents when I realised he wasn’t real and it wasn’t that big of a deal once I figured it out anyway. Kids love below being in magical things, mermaids, fairies, elves, Bigfoot. There is no harm in imagination.


  • I think we need a few less experts in this world! Experts in their field r all fine, I’ve got nothing against an archaeologist writing a book on an archaeological excavation… but experts who offer up opinions like this need to leave the rest of us to get on with our lives and ways of doing things!


  • How ridiculous. So totally and utterly stupid.


  • Really? Can we not keep some magic in our child’s lives amongst all the crap they see and hear. My son loved Christmas and the idea of Santa. He now knows the difference but it certainly hasn’t damaged our relationship.


  • My daughter has always loved the Christmas atmosphere and she never doubted the existence of Santa Claus. We went on till she turned 11 years old. That Christmas, a couple of days after Christmas Day, we told her the truth. After school holidays she was starting high school, and we were a little bit afraid that she would have found out somehow, or maybe even have kids laughing at her. So we told her, very quietly, explaining her why we decided to lie. She cried but she was happy that we kept the magic for so long. And still now, she wants to write her fake letter to Santa and is happy to see what “Santa” is bringing her. :-)


  • I’d prefer to keep telling children about Santa Claus. It doesn’t do any harm, it just makes Christmas magical. First we aren’t allowed to put up Christmas lights then we’re not allowed to say Merry Christmas and now we’re not allowed to talk about Santa. Pretty soon they’ll stop us from celebrating Christmas. I thought this was Australia. We have our traditions and I don’t see why we should stop.

    • I agree with the sentiment but no one is trying to ban Christmas lights or saying Merry Christmas!


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