14-Year-Old Who Still Believes In Santa Needs Better Parents

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Fake SantaWhat would you think if your 14-year-old still believed in Santa? That he was pulling your leg? That he was a little naive? That he was going to get his butt kicked on the school bus by some bully?

When a mom recently proudly pronounced that her teenager is still wrapped up in the thrall of Santa, all three went through my mind, and then some. I get why the mom is so proud: I want my (now 7-year-old) daughter to enjoy the magic of childhood for as long as possible. But at what point does it become cruel to let our kids believe a fat guy in a red suit will be flying 'round the world on Christmas Eve?

I look at letting my kid believe in Santa as my gift to her. I am giving her years of childhood magic.

Because Santa is synonymous with childhood, the belief in him must go away at one point or another if we want our kids to grow up.

More from The Stir: 14-Year-Old Who Still Believes In Santa Needs Better Parents

There's no specific age, necessarily. No edict that at exactly 11 3/4, a child will cease to believe. But when they have enough science classes under their belt to question how a fat man could shrink down to the size of a flue, all those doubting Thomases in their social group will sway them. They will simply no longer believe.

And it's our job as parents to let that happen. Yes, we hate to see our kids grow up. But pushing our teenagers to continue the belief in Kris Kringle is selfish. It's a sign of a parent who is clinging harder to childhood than their child is.

It's a sign of a parent who has lost sight of what our kids need to survive in the real world. Teenagers need to take on a harder edge, to begin to see through the wonder that has long coated their world. It's the only means to protect them from bullies and beyond: from the pain of war, the knife stick of heartbreak.

Don't kid yourself, parents. A teenager who believes in Santa isn't sweet. It isn't cute. 

It's painful. And it's our job as parents to minimize the pain of growing up.

When do you think it's time to stick a pin in the Santa dream?


Image via KristinNador/Flickr

family, tough topics


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nonmember avatar Common.Sense

Here's a novel idea..... how 'bout you just DON'T LIE TO YOUR CHILDREN?? Then you won't be in this mess when your kids keep believing your stupid drivel because you told them to and they trust you!

Billie Jo Evans

How about we just leave this kid alone and let him be a kid? If he seriously still believes in santa I would like to safely say that maybe he has some developmental delays or something that truly allows him to still believe in santa.

Reepi... Reepicheep.CSL

Seriously? You are judging this woman? Weren't you the samr person who blasted parents last week for denying children a childhood if they didn't do the whole santa thing?

Sorry, but the way you feel about the parents of this 14 year old is the same way I feel about you....if you don't want to be judged then maybe you should stop judging others.....

jec72579 jec72579

I agree 100%. I have 2 kids, a 5 year old, who still believes, and a 12 year old, who doesn't. If my daughter still believed at 14? I would sit down and have an honest heart to heart with her, and maybe go even deeper, try to figure out why she isn't willing to get into the "real world", because it's pretty obvious that this kid is caught up in fantasies. 

You hit the nail on the head when you said that it is NOT cute, or sweet. I find it troubling.

Shandi80 Shandi80

So it's not selfish to lie your kids about Santa Claus unless they're over a certain age? That's a little hypocritical, don't you think? You may feel like you're creating "magic" in you kid's life now by telling them about an obese chimney hopper, but how betrayed will they feel when they find out you're lying? At that point, they might wonder, if mom and dad lied about Santa Claus, what else are they lying to me about? I BET VEGETABLES AREN'T GOOD FOR ME! And then, bada boom, the rebellious teen years. All because you wanted to create holiday magic.

dirti... dirtiekittie

i don't really see it as that big of a deal. it's not like they said the kid still believes in the tooth fairy and the easter bunny too. heck, maybe the kid knows and sees how much it means to his mom and plays along? i'm usually on board with you jeanne, but this article took a bit of a judgemental slant and really, is it necessary during the holidays? so the kid loves santa - we could be talking about how he impregnated his 13 year old daughter and is on drugs and beat someone up or something. there's so much worse in the world..

nonmember avatar NoWay

Shandi ... that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life. Teenagers of all faiths are rebelious. Don't blame it on the parents and especially not on Santa Claus. So, what will you blame YOUR rebellious teens on?

Tracey Plummer

Chances are the 14 year old is humoring mom, and if not, who cares? Raise your own kid and stay out of it.


Doomy234 Doomy234

Whoa whoa whoa there. I think you're being a little judgmental. Who says that the mom is "pushing those thoughts" on her kid. Maybe he chooses to believe in Santa. Its called free will and it allows us to think and believe how we want. Who is to say someone is too old to believe in something? I believe in bigfoot, fairies and magic. I also believe in God. Why is believing in one thing okay, but not another? Leave the kid alone.

nonmember avatar kaerae

I think this kid is playing his mom. After all, if your kid wants something that's too pricey, you can explain to him that it's too expensive, or help him figure out a way to earn money to help pay for it. But hell, if he asks SANTA for it, you'll find a way to buy it rather than risk having him think he didn't get it because he wasn't a "good boy" this year. This mom is a sucker, her kid is totally playing her to increase his christmas booty...smart kid!

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