I’m a planner. I like to make sure certain things are in place; it helps ease any anxiety I have sometimes. That way, I know I have control…ish.
Parenthood obviously threw that off.
There are random thumps in the house that sometimes result in a crying fit because the boys are jumping off things. And those are usually the times I am trying to enjoy a planned self-care date, during which I am coloring my mandala or watching Netflix. Go figure.
I’d like to say that most things are unplanned with my kids, as it relates to their behaviors. I know I’m not alone in this. No amount of loving, insightful teaching moments will erase all the crazy decisions our kids make. It’s us against the immature adolescent brain … but we try, right?
In an effort to avoid stress, we try to make sure things are in place. For the most part, they are … until they’re not! But overall, with the right support from our partners, friends, and families we manage to crank out awesome members of society.
It’s important to just let life happen, ya know. That’s how valuable lessons are learned. But it’s a scary thing for me to do for my kids. Do I just let them find out life’s hard lessons on their own? I don’t want them to hear certain truths from their immature friends, so I’ve been talking to my son more about how his body will soon change and how normal it is. I don’t want to chance him finding out extra features of his penis and freaking out about it. He needs to know it’s OK and he can talk about it with us – so I planned that conversation with my husband, asking what our values are and what we want to include in that conversation.
I’ve recently been plagued by another truth I’m not sure I want to let go to chance. Kids can be cruel. I think he’s old enough to know about this, since he’s going to 2nd grade and I just can’t hold up the false any more. It’s time my son knows Santa Claus isn’t who he thinks he is…
I know, you may be thinking he’s too young to know this truth; that it’s alright to go another year or so letting him think some random man is climbing in our home delivering gifts. But I’m no good at this. You should know I was robbed of my childhood, as my husband would say. I never believed in Jolly ‘ol St. Nick. My brother and I always knew where our gifts came from: mom and dad. We turned out just fine!
My husband has to coach me through the do’s and don’ts every year: Don’t wrap the gifts; they can’t go under the tree until the night before; make the cookies … so many rules!
And don’t get me started on all the explanations you have to follow up with after the holiday; my son has all kinds of questions about what the elves do on the off season! My response is to divert to his father, but I am bound to mess up at one point. How can I plan for such a blunder?!
There are resources, folks! I read a few blogs after searching “how to explain Santa Claus isn’t real” and there is great insight out there. One woman says she explained the spirit of St. Nick is carried on through the fun-loving Santa: he believed children everywhere are entitled to joy and wants to model selflessness to all. By that logic Santa is real in a way. After a careful literature review, I found the following key elements to be helpful:
- Ask your child what they know about Santa Claus
- Brace them with something like, “Mommy has to tell you something. Are you listening?”
- Drop the bomb with a smile, “Baby, Santa isn’t real.”
- Ask them what they think of the new information.
- Invite questions and be ready to process, reminding the child they have all they want and need because of you!
- Discuss the “Reason for the Season” based on your family’s personal values.
- Talk about the rules going forward for any younger siblings who may still believe.
I watched this funny YouTube video of parents breaking the news to kids about my son’s age. It was very encouraging to know other parents feel the same way and I feel better in making this decision. Most of the kids laughed in disbelief and insisted their parents were pulling their legs! Some chuckled, saying they already knew. Others were OK knowing their gifts won’t stop. This was a refresher for me: I need to know I’m not dampening my son’s childhood. He will likely be alright with this news. But, I know my son … and I’m a planner. So I’ll be dropping hints along the way so we are ready to show him the whole truth come December. I’m calculating all moves and angles, nothing is going to go wrong, right?