The Tooth Fairy (or the Easter Bunny, or Santa Clause) – a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?
I don’t necessarily think parents tell their kids these things are real as a justification to lying. I think it always is fictional at the back of the parents’ mind (or sometimes real!) and while they might think it’s “cute” to tell their kids Santa is a real thing, and he brings the presents, and if you’re good, you get those presents, is a good, fun thing – it’s actually probably doing the kid more harm than good. Once you find out, or realise yourself, that Santa isn’t real, you no longer believe anything your parents have to say ever again. You also realise how incredibly stupid you were for believing in the first place, and more importantly – who ate the mince-pie and carrot?! Seriously it still baffles me today how my parents managed to make the carrot have bite marks in it that were clearly not human. Perhaps they got the dog to eat it?
I don’t see the problem with telling children the truth about these fictional things – that they are just a fiction, and it’s about what they represent, not what they actually are. I get it though – telling your children Santa buys all the presents makes it so you find out what they really want (by getting them to write a letter to Santa), but also that if they don’t get what they want, they can blame it on some fat dude with a white beard – you still get to be the doting parent.
Ultimately though, whether or not your kids figure it out, knowing what is real and what is fictional is dependent on how smart your child is, or how easily persuaded they are.
The Easter Bunny is kind of a given – no child in their right mind would actually believe that bunnies lay eggs, for fucksake.
Santa? That’s give or take. Especially when you’re like my mother, who swore blind Santa was real, but always gave me the gifts I wanted when I said to her “can you get me this for Christmas?”
The Tooth Fairy is a weird one. She’s not always around, and she’s unpredictable. There’s no holiday to mark her presence. You can’t ask for things and you’ll get it. What the Tooth Fairy is, is a freakish tooth collector, who eats children’s teeth – not your adult teeth though, oh no. Too rich for her – and pays you for your gift of hardened enamel by popping 20 pence under your pillow (well, I got 20p. My Tooth Fairy was a right cheapskate :p).
Just…if you’re going to lie about the Tooth Fairy to your kids, don’t let them find your little trinket box full of old children’s teeth like five years later, like you were hording them to make a necklace or something. Mother.