Friday, December 21, 2012

FPR Q&A Holiday Edition: How Do I Talk to My RAD Kids About Santa?


By John and Diane.

Talking to your kids about Santa is tricky but how do you deal with it when you already are dealing with children with trust disorders and to whom lying is a real setback?

 Kids with attachment disorders or RAD will most likely already be distrustful of the Santa "mythology" and may see your embracing of the story for younger children in the home as a betrayal or indicator that you are untrustworthy or a liar in all circumstances.  How do you handle this delicate situation while maintaining the Christmas spirit?  One reader asked and this is how we've handled it successfully in the past.  Read on....

Q: How do you talk to kids with trust issues about Santa Claus?

A: The Foster kids I have had in the past have come to me usually not believing in Santa already.   They have been let down so many times in the past, at Christmas time and all year round, that they have grown up past their physical age and are too cynical for the belief in things like Santa Claus.

When it comes up in my household, like, if I have younger kids in the home, I ask them not to ruin it for the younger children and ask them to help me “be Santa.”  I let them help pick out the special toys or gifts the younger kids get from Santa, wrap them and while doing so they learn about the joy of giving and being part of making that special memory for the younger kids.  I tell them “Santa Claus is alive…in all of us.” 

I might also talk about how we are working in the “spirit of Santa,” or “In the spirit of St. Nicholas” just as we work in the spirit of Jesus.  I would tell them the story of St. Nick and the history of it to help build some new memories for them about the holiday and Santa icon.

If a child approaches me and says, “Santa isn’t real is he?” I simply say, “The spirit of St. Nick exists” and let it go at that…

Here’s more information on telling kids about Santa from Science Daily:

Parents Should Let Kids' Beliefs About Santa Develop Naturally, Expert Says

Dec. 11, 2012 — When it comes to Santa Claus, a Kansas State University expert says let children believe in the jolly old elf as long as they want

ared Durtschi, an assistant professor in Kansas State University's marriage and family therapy program, says there is no particular age when a child should stop believing in Santa, and that children will often come to realize the truth gradually as they grow older.

"I don't think it's necessary for parents to decide upon a time to tell their children there is no Santa," Durtschi said. "As children develop, the magical thinking that is so common in kids, which allows them to so readily accept all the details of Santa Claus, will give way and they will soon figure it out on their own."

Durtschi said that by telling the truth about Santa before a child has figured it out on his or her own, parents might unintentionally lessen the excitement of the Christmas season for their children.

"Christmas tends to be more fun for those kids who believe in Santa compared to those who do not," he said. "It may be unnecessary to spoil the excitement for the child until they outgrow the belief."

And, here is a link to the story of St. Nick

Merry Christmas Everyone and May God Bless You All

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  1. Thanks for sharing. One girl I'm fostering asked why Santa would visit her at our house when he never visited her at her bio parents' house. I'm pretty sure she believes the whole "if you're bad, santa doesn't bring you presents." I really wish people would think before they tell kids that! Anyway, we told her that different families have different beliefs and traditions, and in our home we have santa come.

    1. Great! Glad you found a solution to that problem and thanks for commenting... I am sure other parents are having that same question asked...
      John and Diane