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AIBU to think that telling 8-year-olds that Santa isn't real isn't a crime?

(88 Posts)
hb84 Fri 07-Dec-12 21:04:07

I just read about a primary school teacher in Dorset who is being vilified by parents and heavily criticised by his boss (who I personally think should stick up for him in this case) because he told a class of 8-year-olds that Santa Claus is not real. This was after a child in the class asked, so obviously there was already some doubt among the kids. I just can't understand why people are getting so outraged about it. Should he have lied about it? Why do children need to believe this? Also, do they really need to believe it past 8 years old?
Even as a small child I knew that Father Christmas was my dad. He would excuse himself, go outside and come back a couple of minutes later wearing a Santa hat and glasses (he had a beard already so didn't need to fake it) but I knew it was him. It didn't make Christmas any less special for my sisters or me, and meant that we still love Christmas now, even as adults. I get the same feeling now as I did when I was little, and it's to do with being at home with my family, giving and receiving presents and stuffing my face with delicious food.

legoballoon Fri 07-Dec-12 21:06:03

By 8 I'd expect them to have worked it out. Just the media getting their knickers in a twist as they are no longer allowed to hack into people's mobile phone messages?

MissCellania Fri 07-Dec-12 21:06:13

Its not a crime, but its mean and none of his business. My eight year old believes and really enjoys it, why would anyone take that away from him?

somewherewest Fri 07-Dec-12 21:58:31

Should he have lied about it?

No. No one should be obliged to lie.

bradyismyfavouritewiseman Fri 07-Dec-12 22:05:03

No he shouldn't have lied. But neither was it his place to do so.

My dd is 8 and believes, whats the issue?
I am sure in a year she won't.

FrustratedSycamoreSnowflake Fri 07-Dec-12 22:05:55

*Should he have lied about it?

No. No one should be obliged to lie.*

I agree that noone should be obliged to lie, but as a teacher you should know how to be diplomatic.
Tell the child they need to make their own mind up, or refer said child back to their parents.
But there really is no need to shatter the childhood illusions and beliefs of 30 children, many of whom may have younger siblings.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Fri 07-Dec-12 22:08:27

YABU. He should have had the wits and good sense to dodge giving a direct answer.

forgetmenots Fri 07-Dec-12 22:08:31

I agree with Frustrated. It's not his place and it would have been easy to deflect.

CailinDana Fri 07-Dec-12 22:08:31

I don't do the Santa thing, but when I was teaching there is no way I would have told children he wasn't real - IMO it's not for teachers to interfere in family traditions. I would have just said "That's something you need to ask your parents about," and left it at that. If a child asked me privately I might ask him/her a few questions to see where the doubt was coming from and if I felt the child really wanted the truth I would tell them. Otherwise I'd just stick to the "ask your parents" line.

meala Fri 07-Dec-12 22:08:43

I think that by 8 most children would know and wouldn't be "devastated" by this. Reading the article suggested that he was asked by a child if santa was real, I would be really disappointed if a teacher or other adult that my child trusted deliberately lied to them and said yes of course he's real.

merrymonsters Fri 07-Dec-12 22:12:47

Do 8 year olds really believe? Surely they'd at least be having doubts by that age? The story is so full of inconsistencies and impossibilities.

Kids still like getting presents, decorating trees, eating etc even without necessarily believing in the (all knowing, all powerful) God-substitute.

I haven't read this particular story, but the tabloids find a few of these stories every Christmas. Personally, I'd be more annoyed if a teacher told his class that Santa was real.

honeytea Fri 07-Dec-12 22:47:09

I think the teacher should have just said something like "We are not talking about father christmas at the moment we are talking about maths/the romans/whatever lesson they were having."

threesocksfullofchocs Fri 07-Dec-12 22:48:38

yanbu
hard call for the reacher as they couldn't lie

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Fri 07-Dec-12 22:54:25

Since when can't teachers lie??? hmm So if a child asks 'is god real' and the teacher is an atheist are they supposed to offer a flatly truthful 'no' or are they better advised to hedge a little with 'some people believe in god and others don't'?

Lafaminute Fri 07-Dec-12 22:54:36

OMG, I can't believe how many of you want to do away with the last bit of magic in your childs lives. Where I live children tend to believe up til 12 when, if they haven't owned up to knowing or realised the truth, they are told. I was 8 when my mother told me and I wished at the time that she had lied and let me continue to believe even though I had kind of worked it out. My DD is 10 and she and her classmates believe as do the older kids in her school. I think it is fantastic that they are still children at 10 years of age and am happy that we live somewhere that allows them to be innocent for a decent amount of time. I agree with honeytea - it was not the teachers business to shatter their illusion - in my experience kids, even if they have doubts, WANT to believe - so let them.

edwinbear Fri 07-Dec-12 22:56:36

I'm 37. I still secretly believe in FC. That is all.

Errrr, it's not anyone's but a parents call to tell children about Father Christmas or the tooth fairy, if a parent wants to keep the magic going and a child loves it then that's their prerogative not a teachers or anyone else's.

2old2beamum Fri 07-Dec-12 22:59:38

All my lot had twiigged by the time they were 5-6 years even my 3 with Downs and i will not lie to them

hmc Fri 07-Dec-12 23:02:21

Yes YABU - the parents call not the teachers!

CharlotteWasBoth Fri 07-Dec-12 23:02:23

Lafaminute, I'm so glad you said that. My 8 and 10 yo still believe. My 12yo hasn't ever since an older friend told her several years ago. I'm still cross about that -- why take away the magic for a younger child?

MissCellania Fri 07-Dec-12 23:02:47

yes, 8 year olds still believe, of course many do. I have a very intelligent one and he does. hmm

edwinbear Fri 07-Dec-12 23:04:41

<edited to add> lafaminute out of curiosity is is some kind of hunger games thing that if you get to 12 and haven't worked it out, you get sat down and told anyway? i only ask because my parents have never, ever taken me to one side and told me FC isn't real, clearly with my own kids i'm not relying on him to deliver to ds and dd on xmas eve, but it's simply not a conversation that's ever been had....alongside the one that mum and dad ever had sex to conceive me and my sis

hmc Fri 07-Dec-12 23:05:50

My 8 year old is on the cusp of not believing - he is teetering on the brink of realisation. I expect that by next year he will be a hard bitten cynic - this could be our last family Christmas with a 'believer'! (excuse the melodrama). I'd be furious if his teacher told him in class that FC didn't exist

Lafaminute Fri 07-Dec-12 23:07:02

Haha CharlotteWB - I haven't forgiven - or forgotten- the nasty girl who told me about SC at 8 (that led to me asking my mum who was all: "I can't LIE to my little girl") and came across her again in my 20's and she was still a nasty piece of work (but then I'm not sure she ever stood a chance after that particular black mark!!)

ChippingInAWinterWonderland Fri 07-Dec-12 23:08:40

Yes - YABU

Lots of 8 year olds still believe - and it's most emphatically not a teachers place to take this away from them.

There are lots of questions that teachers have to skirt around, I'm sure 95% of teachers would have managed to deal with this appropriately. He is a fuckwit.

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