Were you traumatized when you found out that Santa wasn't real?
It seems to me that we've talked about this before here, but I can't find it. Anyway, I bring the question up because it's related to #5 in one woman's list of The 5 Most Brutal Lies You Tell Your Child. Here's the start:
5.”Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.”
I’m amazed by the complaints of former children who still resent their parents’ attempts to create a magical Christmas. The lie (obviously a family tradition) once exposed casts a round, but dark, shadow over their relationship with their parents. For some, this experience shaped their parenting philosophy. This single fabrication has produced enough backlashes to merit a place on this list.
I don't remember that discovering the truth about Santa was all that brutal to me. I'd have to check with my siblings, but I don't remember it being much of a trauma for them either. It was just one of many growing up things that moved from oldest child to youngest in a slow-motion wave.
In my case I think I got suspicious when I realized one Christmas season that you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a Santa Claus. Okay, I didn't really think "swing a dead cat," because that would make me a scary little 5-year-old and I wasn't that at all. But I did realize that there seemed to be an awful lot of Santas hanging around each December and if you got up close they all looked a little different.
I think finding out the truth about Santa wasn't that big a deal because by that time I also had some understanding of the concept of fiction as opposed to a lie. I knew cartoons weren't real. They were fun to watch, but not real. Fairy tales were fun to listen to or read, but they weren't real. "Who broke the glass?" Now that was real, and you better not lie.
So in that sense, even at that young age I think I shrugged off the truth about Santa as just another fun story that wasn't actually true. Sort of like "Jack and the Beanstalk" or "Wizard of Oz."
As far as kids today, I don't see anything wrong with treating Santa as real up to a certain age. Beyond five or six it is probably not healthy to keep asserting that he's real in the face of growing doubts from the child. The kid is going to find out from his peers anyway, and if the truth has been overly denied up until then, at that point I can see it being traumatic. For small kids though, I think the myth of Santa is fine.
Opinions? How did the truth about Santa hit you?