I Have a Hard Time Telling Those "Little White Lies"

Updated on July 19, 2011
M.D. asks from Rockport, TX
13 answers

My 5 year old daughter is very curious and wants confirmation on everything! Make believe characters, tv etc all has to be black or white for her. It is either real or it isnt. Example today... I bought her a notepad with the disney fairies on the front. She asks me later on, what fairies really look like and do they carry a wand or is it just dressed up people that are not even real. I want to be totally honest with her about things, because thats how she likes it.. But at the same time I dont want to already ruin the tooth fairy, easter bunny etc. I never had this problem with my older daughter- she just believed and never questioned things. (If they dont ask then technically Im not lying right ??) So , do I just answer everything in black and white like she wants it, or do I sugar coat just a bit for the fun stuff? Thanks moms!

Obviously this goes beyond fairies and santa- that was just the example today.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I usually ask "well what do you think?" and they can usually think of something and I usually say something like "that sounds right or I've never seen a real fairy so I don't know" My son is 7 and still believes in the tooth fairy and Santa. How does the tooth fairy & Santa get in? What do they do when they don't visit? Those are the type of questions he asks and I basically have him answer them.

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answers from Charlotte on

"Well, I've never seen a fairy in real life, so I just have to go by the picture."

For Santa, read her the book "The Polar Express". When she asks if Santa is real, ask her if she can hear the bell. I did that with my boys for years. They are teens, yes they know Santa is mom and dad, but they never even asked.

I think it would help you both to start talking about imagination and how wonderful it is. You don't want her to start discounting other children's play because she wants to think in terms of black and white.

All my best,

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answers from Hartford on

I don't want to be the one to break the magic of things like that, so whenever the girls have asked me questions like this I simply turn it around on them and say, "Well, I'm not sure. What do YOU think?" Then I can respond with, "I think that sounds lovely." I like to encourage their imaginations and their sense of play. It's healthy. If she presses you, you could say, "Fairies are thought to be very tricksy, and I've never seen one myself. But if I ever saw one I always imagine that they might look like ____ and have ____. Of course I don't know. What do you think?" This works with Santa and the Easter Bunny too.

At the same time, it's engaging their critical thinking skills. As they get older the nature of those questions changes. Instead of asking me what fairies look like, they ask me if the Tooth Fairy exists. As I always have, I ask them what they think. In turn, they work out the answers for themselves using logic and no one has spoiled anything for them... and they're proud of having figured out the mystery. They're also proud to now be in the know and to be part of continuing the magic for the rest of the kids who still believe.

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answers from Los Angeles on

When she begins to wonder or question Santa, get the newspaper article, "Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa." It was written in the late 1800's and is the most rerpoduced newspaper article ever written.

When my kids asked, I told them I believed in Santa, but if they ever stopped believing in Santa, then Santa wouldn't bring them presents anymore.

That solved the problem for several years. ;~))

But that's only part of the story. Every Christmas morning, I would get up around 5 am. I had a package of bells (little round chrome bells like you would sew on clothes) and I would sneak out in the hall next to their rooms. Then I'd shake those bells and in a very deep and altered voice, I'd half yell, "Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas. MMMMeeeerrrrryyyy CCCChhhhrrrriiisstmmmaass ! ! ! !" None of my eight kids ever caught me. I'd then run back to the bedroom, climb in bed, and pretend to be asleep. They would always come in to "wake" mom and dad. Their excitement and the twinkle in their eyes as they went to see what Santa had left them was absolutely priceless. The last time I did that, my youngest was 10, I think. It still brings good memories.

I don't think there is anything that can beat 8 kids being excited about Santa, or the Easter Bunny. The fun is indescribable and their joy is contageous. The people with just one child will never know what they are missing.

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I always just asked questions back to my kids. Like, "what do you think?" Then have a great discussion with them, trying not to commit, but still not spoiling their fun.

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answers from Sacramento on

I think you answer honestly and tell her the truth.

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answers from Williamsport on

My kids are going through this with ghosts right now. It's so cute, because they really don't know if they're real or not, and we're not giving a definite answer. My husband 100% believes in ghosts and has a couple of true ghost stories in his life. I've never seen hide nor hair of a remotely supernatural situation, so I can't jump on the ghost bandwagon, yet don't have proof of course that no one else has experienced ghosts. Therefore, he tells them they're real, I tell them I've never seen one. So there's no way for them to know. :)
I would tell her the truth when she wants it. But with things like fairies, you don't have to say you hold scientific evidence that there are none. You can say, "people have written stories about them for centuries and believe in them. I've never seen one, but that doesn't prove anything" and keep the fantasy alive a little.

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answers from Dallas on

Well since she already knows the difference from make believe and real, be honest with her... I do understand wanting them to be kids longer and using their imagination but for some kids it's just not that...

Have you ever asked her a question back instead of answering the questions, like what do you think?

I remember one night my son was upset that the tooth fairy forgot to leave $$ under his pillow the night before... He was in the 4th grade, and I thought he did know that it wasn't real, well, I told him, I'm sorry I forgot to do it last night... then he said why didn't the tooth fairy do it, and I said come on, you know I'm the tooth fairy, and with a surprise reaction he was like "you are" and I said, "come on, I know you don't still believe in the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny", then he says "There's No Easter Bunny Either"... and started to cry... I felt all bad inside, then about a couple weeks later, he said, you know, I was just mad at you for forgetting, I don't still believe in them, well, not really... I was so mad at him, but I also remember what it felt like to be a kid and wanting to believe... heck at Christmas I still want to believe there is a Santa out there...

See what she believes and go from there... You can always be honest and say, well I've never really seen one, but I believe they look like this, or I imagine they look like.... let her decide for herself if she wants to use her imagination or not...

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answers from Atlanta on

The main thing you want to do with your little ones is instill trust. I can tell you as a mother of teenagers, Im glad I started when they were little. My girls trust me. We never "did" Santa but we never pooh-poohed anyone else who did and we did'nt avoid Christmas movies about him. My husband and I simply believed that if we told our girls the truth that at some point when they needed it, they'd know where to come. It's worked out for us. The little white lies are the ones that normally get out of control.....

God bless!

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answers from Santa Fe on

I loved believing in fairies when I was young. You can just be vague with your daughter and tell her you have heard from some people that they are real. You can make fairy houses together for fun and get books of fairies at the library. I think it would be great fun for her! Here's a link:

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Do you really want her to believe in Disney fairies? I would not think they are good role models for anything except Disney merchandising. My son has always known that Santa and the Easter Bunny are pretend (we are Jewish) but he told me at an Easter egg hunt (he was 5) that 'he is going to let his friends believe'. He has not asked whether the tooth fairy is real (he is just about to lose his first tooth). If he does, we will tell him it's pretend but if not we're just going to go with it.



answers from Killeen on

My youngest is the same way. I think maybe it is because he has older siblings and they question things more now that they are older so he does as well. I try saying things like " well what do think?" But that doesnt always work so well. I would just give her whatever answers that you are comfortable with and dont go beyond the question that she is actually asking at the time.



answers from Allentown on

My parents raised us to not lie to them, and this meant that they didn't lie to us either. No-one should be comfortable telling ANY lies. Personally I don't want my children to lie, and I won't lie to them either. Several of the examples that you mentioned, once we were old enough, we had family discussions, reading right out of encyclopedias where these customs and believes came from. That helped us to be reasoning people and to respect our parents that they wouldn't want to lie to us. I don't think there is any such thing as a 'harmless lie'. I think that any lying, starts small and can scar the conscience and lead to bigger lies, or the inability to distinquish a lie from truth. I would just rather avoid the whole scene! :)
That is how I feel about it, I know that others feel differently, and I would never tell someone elses child something wasn't real! I would tell them to ask their mommy or daddy when they get home.

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