When is it ok to tell your children about Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy?

Leslie - posted on 11/08/2010 ( 86 moms have responded )

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My husband's ex-wife is encouraging my 12 year old step son to still believe. My husband on the other hand wants him to know the truth and start to grow up a bit. I'm torn. He is very immature for his age. But at the same time, it seems like by encouraging this, he is not going to grow up. Thoughts and opinions please.

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Laura - posted on 11/09/2010

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There really isn't a right or wrong answer to this question: You have to do what you, as a parent, thinks is best for your child. You know your step son and the situation best. Communicate with your husband about the pros, cons, and options. Then the two of you will be better able to decide what will be best for your step son.

That being said, I have a confession, people: I BELIEVE IN SANTA CLAUS! Why? Because it's fun! Because I LOVE giving gifts to kids without the expectation of something in return. I like the anonimity of "being" Santa. He symbolizes that which is loving and giving at a very dark (literally) time of the year. Because the myths and legends are wonderful. Again, because the believing is fun! And I realize that this is just my perspective and that not everyone feels the same way.

One thing to keep in mind is that kids often figure out the "truth" before parents even tell them. You might consider asking some probing questions to find out just how much your step son actually believes. You may be suprised that he has figured out the myth or you will find out he still believes whole-heartedly. Either way you gain information with which to work. My daughter figured out the whole Santa thing when she was about 10. She asked me if Santa was "real". I asked her to clarify what she meant: Real as in an actual person or real as in an idea of a person? She clarified her meaning as an actual person to which I said "no, Santa isn't actually a person." This lead into a discussion about Santa being an idea or spirit of a person. To that I said "yes, the spirit or idea of Santa is very real." We even read some books I have on the history of Christmas that include different legends of where Santa came from. We explored what he symbolizes: generosity, kindness, caring, giving, etc. These are all qualities worth having in ourselves! So while Santa may not be flesh and blood, his "spirit" lives on in anyone who gives out of love and generosity at Christmastime. That's my story and I'm stickin' with it! Hope that helps and good luck to you!

Alyssa - posted on 06/05/2012

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hi, i am a mom of 5 kids...Santa clause and tooth fairy thing is a rolling with the child thing... your step son is 12... remember when you were 12... did you still believe or know the truth??
i was the youngest of 10 so my siblings killed it for me. But i believe in honesty ... hes almost a teenager come on now... he already knows... i promise you that..hes just trying to make you happy if he still acts like he believes. i have been a mom for almost 25 years and a foster mother
but go with with it.. kids tend to believe if they act if they believe they get more from " Santa clause" and the tooth fairy... how many teeth is your 12 year old losing now?? better to be truthful at this age then looked as a liar parent.... just my opinion

Cassie - posted on 12/14/2013

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I am eleven years old and I don't think it's right to lie to your children about Santa. You teach them to be honest and about science, yet you lie to them about impossible things. I told my parents that they wern't fooling me over and over until one year, I threatened to tell my younger brother. They finally admitted it to me and I was upset that it took them so long to tell the truth. It's stupid, it doesn't make it magic, it make kids stressed and do things to find out the truth and it makes them think that their parents don't give them anything for Christmas. Also, it takes away from what Christmas is about (the birth of Christ). If you ask a young child what Christmas is about, most likely they will resopnd, "Santa".

Mo - posted on 11/23/2012

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my son is going to be 11 years old soon and he told me his friends at school told him that Santa wasn't real.I didn't want his friends to ridicule him so I told him the truth.He was devastated. I really believe now that deep down he new the truth but wasn't ready to hear it.Don't lie to your child just tell them that as long as they believe Santa will be real....I wish that's what I had done.

Rhiannon - posted on 08/25/2013

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My 11 year old told me two years ago that santa doesn't exist and I told her that if she didn't believe there would be no presents. I did thid for 2 reasons one I wanted Christmas to stay magical for her and two we have a lot of small children in the family who I didn't want her to tell. Now don't get me wrong she knows santa isn't real and that the presents come from me and her step dad but I always make sure she has a surprise present adressed from santa and she still gets excited she plays along with me and her cousins and Christmas is still magical for her. Don't force it on him he will know when he's ready.

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Elizabeth - posted on 08/20/2013

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My Mom wanted me to believe in Santa Clause until I was 50. When I was 12 I remember getting so mad because she tried to keep it real. I would tell her come on Mom there is no Santa and she would continue to lie. My children are complete opposite of me. They seem to want to believe no matter what I say. I think my older daughter caught me being the tooth fairy last night so I'll see how that goes today.

Lulu - posted on 01/28/2013

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My daughter realized santa wasn't real just when she turned 10 years old. She actually told me, and I told her that yes, Santa doesn't exist. Now she is 13 years old, by the way. I always told myself that I would tell my daughters the truth about Santa and the toothfairy until they started to tell me if they were real. You should tell your son the truth until he asks you about it.

Lucy - posted on 12/16/2012

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Hi Leslie . My name is Stephanie and i am not a mom, i am actaully using my mom's account, because i think that i can help you with this problem. I am 12 years old, and my parents told me last year( because i had my suspicions) that santa claus wasn't real. Now, at first I was very upset, and felt completely lied to, and unsure. And now its christmas time again, and I find that this year, i'm not as excited as last year. There is just something about christmas eve that just used to feel so magical and exciting, and this year because I know that santa isn't real , i just simply don't feel this way. My point is, is that you should tell your child when you think that THEY are ready. If your child keeps asking, you can just say something that i have realized now: "It's whatever you beleive in your heart." Even if Santa isn't real, the magic of family and christmas eve will always remain within me:)

Nica - posted on 11/23/2012

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each child is different bu you cannot send them to secondary school at 11 when they still believe in Santa. in my home we have a rule, once they are 10 they need to be told. by that age they suspect anyway, they are mature enough not to suffer and its the right thing to do if you don't want them to be bullied in 7th grade :-)

Momma - posted on 06/18/2012

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Do it as soon as you want to crush his dreams. I think you should let him figure it out for himself.

Allison - posted on 06/03/2012

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My daughter is an only child and i thought that it was important to keep her believing for as long as she could. When she was in third grade I asked her counselor if i should tell her or not. She told me that if she ever asked to tell the her the truth because she probably already knows.

Mrs. TGI - posted on 05/01/2012

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You won't have to tell them...my daughter said she sort of knew but still wanted to believe and she is 11.

Elizabeth - posted on 05/01/2012

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@Tina - the facts of life at 10, really? That's still elementary school! I didn't start sex ed until 6th grade (about 12 years for most kids), and the schools here (a different county than I grew up in) don't start it until then, either. 10 just seems really young to me for sex education.

Ruth - posted on 04/30/2012

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. Kids are all different, disabled or not. I feel that when children begin to question then you are truthful, but you don't break it to them just because they're 10. We all develop differently and just because the parent is ready, it doesn't mean the child is.

Ruth - posted on 04/28/2012

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Each child is different some benefit from knowing the truth and some are emotionally and developmentally young and need to believe in the tooth fairy, Santa etc...I feel that sometimes believing in something encourages their imagination to grow. My daughter is 12 and she still chooses to believe in Santa. I think this will be the last year as she is beginning to question it all and when she asks, then she is ready to hear the truth. They will grow up soon enough.

Sherri - posted on 04/27/2012

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@Jen my kids truly still believed at 12 and were sooo sad when we told them the truth. Also though most of their friends still believed as well. So no one teased anyone as they all were still believing. Glad you think it is ridiculous and something that is funny.

Jen - posted on 04/26/2012

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My 14 year old knew by the age of 8, and currently my 8 year old twins still believe. I don't think they believe in the Tooth Fairy but they do believe in Santa Clause.

(Also, we're Jewish.)

I think 12 is a ridiculous age. He's probably playing along. I remember my 14 year old was telling me at age 11 how her 11 year old friend still believed, and we had a good laugh at that. Her friend was teased in school because of it (although we didn't laugh about that). Heck, I remember finding it strange that her 9 year old friend still believed because I thought that 8 was a late age to tell them.

Sylvia - posted on 04/25/2012

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I told y children before they started middle school becuase they might of been getting bullied for it. i bever wanted to see my children come home with bruises and bumps. Please tell him now do this can be prevented

Sherri - posted on 04/12/2012

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Well since my kids didn't know about sex till 12 either it makes complete sense to me. Guess we keep our kids younger longer here.

Tina - posted on 04/12/2012

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After all, we learned the "facts of life" around age 10, both at home and at school. If you know about sex but haven't figured out Santa, then something seems backward to me. Perpetuating the myth at that age doesn't really help the child mature, in my opinion.

Tina - posted on 04/12/2012

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I'm not saying that a kid is mentally impaired if he does believe for a long time, just that it's abnormal. I just don't think it's the standard for a kid to believe beyond age 10, and I feel like I need to break it to my kids before age 9 to have them not be teased. (My good friend was teased mercilessly in third grade b/c she was one of the only kids who still believed.) My point is that I would certainly adjust my thinking if I had a disabled child. I have friends with disabled children who still do all of it (Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, etc.) b/c their adult children still believe.

Lisa - posted on 04/07/2012

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Children find out on their own. Their friends spill the beans at school. If your child still believes go along with it., Enjoy these years.

Sherri - posted on 04/06/2012

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Wow Tina that is so young my kids all believed until they were 12 and no they had no mental disability and they were never teased as most of their friends still believed as well. They were so sad when I told them at 12.

Tina - posted on 04/06/2012

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I think if a kid still believes by the middle of third grade, s/he is going to be teased. That is what I've seen. I stopped believing just after I turned seven. I guess I was on the young side, but it just didn't make any sense to me, and a lot of my friends (who were already eight), said their parents confirmed that they were really Santa. So I asked my mom, and she confirmed. My daugther is turning eight, and I feel like I need to break it to her sometime in the next twelve months.



Believing beyond age 10 is just too long in my opinion, unless the child is somehow mentally disabled and will potentially believe well into adulthood. At some point, how the kid fits in with his peers is more important than momentary disappointment. My mom always made the deal that as long as I didn't tell my little brother, I would still get presents from Santa. By the time he figured it out, we just got presents from Mom & Dad, but Santa still came and left us unwrapped presents that we didn't know we were getting under the tree and in stockings. As soon as we saw the presents, we would rush to Mom & Dad and thank them. It didn't make the joy any less. In fact, I think it's nice when Mom & Dad finally get credit for all that they have provided!

Kylie - posted on 12/04/2010

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Around 9/10 they know. But my kids are 11 + 13 and we still have fun with it.. They will work it our for themselves anyway. Don't tell him, your will only devestate him, let him work it out, and he will ask the right questions. It is great for a child to have fantasy and make believe, it is just apart of growing up. After all they are only children for a very short time in their lives.

Deanna - posted on 11/28/2010

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It is up to you and your husband not the ex-wife. First talk to him and see if he is just being kind by letting you think he still believes and not wanting to hurt you by telling you that he doesn't. Then if you decide to tell him make sure that you do it in a way as to make sure that the spirit of the holiday is always uppermost.

Sherri - posted on 11/27/2010

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My kids still believed at 12. Actually spilled it to my middle son last year and he was absolutely crushed. If I could it over again I NEVER would have told him and let him figure it out on his own when he was ready.

[deleted account]

He is old enough to know the truth, but there was a man named Saint Nick who did go to homes and deliver gifts. He just did not ride in a sleigh or had flying reigndeer. He also could not fit down a chimney nor fall into one! If your husband thinks it is time, he is right! Moms' can sometimes not let go of the little things, especially when it comes to their sons. It is the same as Dads' with their daughters. The little things can sometimes get in the way, but at the same time is a lifetime memory!
Thanks, ): o ) Beth

Doreen - posted on 11/23/2010

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My Daughter is 11 years old and she still believes in Santa Clause and I think that I would like to keep in little for as long as possible cause, they are forced to grow up way to quick now days, I say let them be little

R. S. - posted on 11/23/2010

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My niece told my daughter that "when you stop believing in Santa, you start getting clothes for Christmas." My daughter, a sophomore in high school, is therefore SURE there is a Santa Claus.

Patty - posted on 11/23/2010

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they will let you know, they will ask questions. Why give up the magic of Christmas by telling him. Chances are he already knows, but because he hasn't said anything means he wants to keep this aspect of Christmas going! I used to babysit a girl who's mom told her in grade 5 that santa wasn't real and she was so mad at her! She said that was the worst Christmas because although she doubted it, he Mom ruined it for her. Her Mom did it because she felt the other kids would tease her and she wanted her to avoid the embarasement.

Heather - posted on 11/22/2010

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Every child matures in their own time. Your step son will start to ask questions when he starts to doubt these realities. I have four children, and one of them is much less mature than the others. I have told each of my children about Santa at different ages. In the case of my less mature child, she was the one who came up to me and asked. I think that if they are asking about this reality they are really ready to know. In a world where kids grow up so fast, why not let them have this little bit of fantasy. I think that will let you know when they are ready to know the truth.

Jodi - posted on 11/22/2010

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I told my son when he was 11. He was starting at a new school where there were kids up to 18, so I felt that he needed to know. I didnt want one of the older kids making fun of him because of Santa.

The funny thing was, he really did still believe, and he thought over it for a few days, and then came to me and asked if that meant the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy weren't real too. I was honest about those too......

He actually was ok with it, because now he feels like is is "in the know" and helps keep it secret for his younger sister (who is 5 and believes BIG TIME).

Ana - posted on 11/21/2010

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After my girls learned about Jesus Christ they knew there was no such thing as Santa or Tooth Fairy. I did not want them thinking that Jesus Christ was a fairy tale so we had the talk then and told them to be careful not to ruin it for others that still wanted their kids to believe. I didn't have to worry about it. God took care of it for me!

Rotacha - posted on 11/21/2010

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I agree w/ you're post 100%!! I never told my daughter the "Lie" that is Santa Claus. I just don't understand why family & friends don't respect my decision.

Jen - posted on 11/21/2010

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Kids reality and fantasy overlap. It's not a lie just makebelive magic for them to enjoy

Julie - posted on 11/20/2010

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I have 2 kids. A son who just turned 12 & a daughter who is 10. My son told me last Christmas that he did not believe in Santa. He said Santa is not real. I did not confirm nor deny. I just smiled. He knew what the smile meant. I told him not to put his opinion on to his ittle sister. I always knew one day they would figure it out on their own. I think the harsh realities of life come to soon anyway. The thought of Santa, The Easter Bunny & The Tooth Fairy are fun. That is what childhood is suposed to be. Kids grow up to fast anyway. Even though my son knows I am still putting from Santa on his gifts. It is fun for me & my husband.

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My girls were in high school before that accepted that Santa wasn't real :) But they also knew the real reason for Christmas and why we celebrate it. Santa has helped them to learn the art of giving & receiving and getting together with family & friends. I never felt that I was lying to them, just felt that I gave them hope & warm fuzzies, which is always a good thing to draw on when you get older & go through some of the tough times life will take you though. They know he is not real now, but love to play along & they so look forward to getting together with family & friends.... Very fun times, which create wonderful memories....

Mickey - posted on 11/19/2010

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Well, personally I don't think parents should ever lie to their children about things, so I never lied about it my kids. So the sooner you let your child know the better. When I found out that Santa wasn't real, I was devastated by the hoax. So, when I became a parent I explained to my kids that Santa represented magic and kindness and that he was based on a real man in history who used to give children with less presents at christmas. We use him today as symbol for kindness and magic. I've also raised my kids with a knowledge that magic is everywhere and always with us, so we don't need the one night a year when magic is acceptable. Good luck to you!

Anastasia - posted on 11/19/2010

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Our conversations about Santa always make us talk about God. I say that it's his choice – to believe or not to believe in Santa, the same thing I say about God. I say that maybe he doesn’t wear red costume, maybe he doesn’t do all these things we say Santa’s does, but maybe there is something that exists and make this holiday brighter and people happier, who knows? The same with God, right? Lots of similarities.

Lisa - posted on 11/19/2010

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My 8 year old figured it out last Christmas, all my kids know what Christmas is all about. But, they have the spirit of Santa within their hearts. My 8 year old still believes but knows the truth. All my kids figured it out by noticing where we hiding the gifts. lol My brother and i figured it out the same way. I think age 12 is a proper age to let him know that there is no Santa, but just let him know that the magic of Chrsitmas is within yourself. When my kids did figure it out, my hubby and I sat them down and told them the story behind on how Santa became. The tooth fairy, in my house still exists, but the kids know who it is. My oldest is 13, but has braces, and I think at age 12 there permanet teeth are almost all in. So I would let him know about the tooth fairy. But, as i make it a tradition on Christmas we have a birthday party. Christmas is not all about Santa, or gifts, it can be religious or not. But everyone has there own traditions on Christmas, maybe make a new tradition with your son on Christmas, on picking a book out to read or caroling at the nursing home making new is always a great feeling. Good luck! Happy Thanksgiving!

Klara - posted on 11/19/2010

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I have relatives who still put "santa" on all the kids gifts... I think he'll figure it out on his own time. We've always talked about santa having "helpers," so when the time comes, we can be those helpers. We also let our kids know that when they no longer believe there is a santa, he stops coming to them.

[deleted account]

Let them be kids as long as possible! I really struggled with the Santa lie too, and almost didn't go for it. My boys are 13 and 15 and when I told them that I almost didn't do the Santa, they said they were so glad that I did! I still say I believe in Santa and tell them if they don't make out a list for Santa, then he won't come. We still put out the cookies and hang our stockings. I read "The Polar Express" every Christmas Eve...."Some people can't hear the bell ring!" We're Catholic, so we believe in the saints and St. Nick is right up there with them! So...he'll find out soon enough! Enjoy the time now. Soon enough, he'll be a teenager and only want money, clothes, and electronic. Then it's no fun!!!

TJ - posted on 11/18/2010

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I'm a Pagan/Wiccan and raised my daughter in what we call the Old Ways. (She is raising my twin grandsons in that religion, too. They are 8 and a half.) We encourage a belief in wondrous, magickal things. It's asked here when is it OK to tell your child "the truth" about Santa, etc.?



Well, what is that "truth?" You have a choice. Will you use adult seriousness to shatter children's hope, fun and beliefs to drag them into what could become a sad, dry, boring grown-up life, or will you welcome the children into the next stage of their wonderful lives... moving toward a happy and magickal adulthood, teaching them to learn and help you to encourage the happiness they remember for children younger than they are?



We use every single milestone in childhood as a teaching experience. Every toilet training success for toddlers, every tooth lost for youngsters, every first haircut, every first period for young girls entering womanhood is celebrated with a ceremony and a party... and every advance in learning about mythological characters actually existing within our loving hearts and souls doesn't have to be serious, sad or depressing. Santa, the Bunny, the Fairy, etc. are not lies. They are real, within us, and their existence continues through our actions, for as long as we want them to last. The mystical magickal excitement of Christmas (called Yule, or the Winter Solstice, for us) is anticipated and celebrated as a continuous family tradition. It is all what you make it!

Vernet - posted on 11/17/2010

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Why would you want you child not to believe? It is one of the blessings of the season at any age!

Shalan - posted on 11/17/2010

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Chances are he already knows, but what could it hurt to let him play it out a little longer. My son found out from classmates at age 10 and then rushed home to tell his younger brothers! Let him believe as long as he chooses, childhood and make believe last for such a short time.

Melissa - posted on 11/17/2010

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My middle son is 12 and he seems to still believe and I will not be the one to spoil his spirit! He also still believes in the tooth fairy, even after she "forgot" to come out two nightsin a row!! I also have a 14 yr old who has not admitted he doesn't believe but I think he has wisened up :) Although he probly won't say anything because he has a 12 yr old and 6 yr old brother who still believe. I wish I was still naive enough to believe in the big guy!

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