- Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell’s children are 5 and 3, and their 5-year-old recently started asking questions about Santa.
- Shepard said he has a personal policy that he’ll never lie to his kids – so he told them the truth.
- According to Shepard, they both still love Santa and aren’t bothered in the least by this shocking revelation.
- Psychologists have long debated the effects of telling – or not telling – kids about Santa, and will probably continue to do so.
In an exclusive interview with Us Weekly, Dax Shephard offered a revelation that may shock some parents at this time of year – he and Kristen Bell have already told their kids the “truth” about Santa.
Shepard and Bell’s children are 5 and 3 years old, respectively.
Shepard related the story this way:
“This is going to be very controversial. I have a fundamental rule that I will never lie to them, which is challenging at times. Our 5-year-old started asking questions like, ‘Well, this doesn’t make sense, and that doesn’t make sense.’ I’m like, ‘You know what? This is just a fun thing we pretend while it’s Christmas.'”
He said these kids still feel the Christmas magic all around them, though
Shepard said that he and Bell’s children still love Santa Claus, even if they don’t necessarily believe in him.
Shepard continued in his Us Weekly interview:
“They love watching movies about Santa, they love talking about Santa. They don’t think he exists, but they’re super happy and everything’s fine.”
Psychologists have been debating about whether or not you should tell kids about Santa for a long time
If you’re wondering whether a belief in Santa can cause trust issues in children later in life – psychologists have been debating this question for a long time among themselves, and will probably continue to do so.
Some say it’s the adults who end up saddest when the kids find out that Santa isn’t real – and that the kids are usually totally fine with it, as a study from the journal Child Psychiatry and Human Development found.
Santa might be pretend – but that’s not a bad thing for kids
Most people who interact with kids know that they’re very happy to play pretend – and that play involving imagination is essential for developing important life skills, according to experts.
As psychologist Dr. John D. Rich, Jr. wrote for Psychology Today,
“What’s interesting from a psychological perspective is the difference between the Santa story and almost every other fantasy character to whom children are introduced. When parents play with their children, pretending to be Spider-Man or Wonder Woman, or Snow White, there is an implicit understanding that the play is just pretend. There are no efforts on the part of parents to convince a child that Spider-Man is real. By contrast, Santa (and, less so, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy) is not only a part of the Christmas magic but is also purported to be a real person, whose magic requires belief in his actuality.”
Sooner or later, kids usually learn the truth about Santa – maybe they hear it in whispers at school, or they figure it out themselves – and either way, that’s a part of growing up in many families. But that doesn’t mean the best part of the season has to end.
Dr. Rich continued in his Psychology Today piece on the subject:
“Whether or not your children have a literal belief in Santa, they are growing up. They can still believe in the love and generosity and devotion that the Santa myth represents. The demise of the literal Santa doesn’t mean that the world becomes a terrible place. It means that your children are ready to realise, without the props, that it’s a wonderful life!”
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