Do your kids believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and other childhood myths? Maybe it's time you tell them the truth.
Growing up, my sister and I would read a lot of fairytales, so although we do not celebrate Christmas or Easter, it was still great fun for us to believe that jolly old Santa Claus would “come to town” to give presents to all the children; and we were excited to be invited to our friends’ houses to hunt for chocolate eggs which were supposedly hidden around their garden by the Easter Bunny every March.
As magical as it was to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, it was a little confusing to us as to why they would always skip our house yet would pay a visit to our friends instead, and we wondered if it was because we did not behave well enough that year to deserve a special house-visit.
So what is about childhood myths that make children intrigued? And is it healthy for them to believe in something that their parents make up and insist that it is the truth during their early years of childhood?
Waiting for the Tooth Fairy
When I lost my first tooth, I recalled reading in a storybook that I should put the tooth under my pillow at night and then the next morning it would be replaced with a coin.
Some of my friends urged me to do it and told me about how they received a lovely little note from the Tooth Fairy herself, and were rewarded with some money which they used to buy some candy or stickers.
So I did just that and the next morning I excitedly checked under my pillow but was disappointed to see that my tooth was still there and there was no sign of a glittery note nor any coins at all.
But I didn’t give up hope and just left my tooth there for about a week, only to wake up disappointed and confused every single morning.
I lamented to my mother about the Tooth Fairy’s no show, but she had no clue what I was even talking about because she had never even heard about the Tooth Fairy or what exactly parents were supposed to secretly do for their kids when it came to all these childhood myths.
Finding out the truth
It didn’t take long for me to eventually figure out the truth about the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but it left me feeling disappointed and pretty foolish for believing in the first place.
Even though my parents never fed us with all these childhood myths, I read about such characters from storybooks, or saw their images as decorations during festive seasons, and heard about them from my friends in school, or watched them come to life in cartoons.
When my other friends finally learned the truth as well, they would come to school and ask one another in hushed tones whether we knew that such characters didn’t really exist.
Those who were aware would solemnly nod their heads and then quickly shrug it off by saying they’re too old for all that “baby stuff”, and it seemed like the rite of passage every child would go through before the end of lower school (Primary Three).
My friends discovered that such childhood myths didn’t exist by reading about it in a book somewhere, a few were told the truth by their older siblings, there were also those whose parents were the ones to reveal the well-kept secret, or it all just dawned on them one day as part of their own conceptual development.
Some of them felt quite embarrassed or betrayed and you could hear the hurt in their voices and see the bitterness on their faces as they told each other that they always had their suspicions in the first place, but wondered why their parents had to lie to them about it for so long.
Go to the next page to find out why it isn’t a good idea to keep the truth from your children.