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Should You be Lying to Your Kids About Santa?

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR – DECEMBER 15: A man dressed up as a Santa Claus greets a girl during Christmas season on December 15, 2019 in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Photo by Camilo Freedman/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images)

Then my son was eight, he asked if Santa was real. I didn’t know what to say, so I dodged the question. Naturally, he sought answers from the place that never let him down: the World Wide Web. When I spied him searching “Is Santa real?” on the iPad, I gently took it from him and asked, “Why do you want to know so much?”

“Because I feel like you’re lying to me,” he said, trying to blink away tears. He was distraught. I was too, because what had seemed like a sweet tradition was suddenly threatening the trust my child had for me. So I told him the truth—that Dad and I were Santa, and that we were never trying to “lie” about it, but rather, just to carry on something we had enjoyed as kids. He was surprised that I told him, and a little sad. But mostly, he was relieved.

A couple of years later, when my daughter was eight and wanted the truth, I had this same conversation with her, and she had a similar reaction: a tinge of disappointment, but mostly relief. Both times, honesty about Santa felt wrong, right up until the moment it felt right.

For the past three years, I’ve been researching what it means to be more aware of our own honesty choices instead of only focusing on the dishonesty in the world around us. And while the man in the red suit is an honesty dilemma for many parents, I’ve learned that it’s probably not as important as the other honesty choices we make as parents.

Unlike belief in Santa—which is something children grow out of—dishonesty is something children grow into, says Robert Feldman, a University of Massachusetts psychology professor who has studied lying for many years. In having children and adolescents purposely tell lies to mislead, he found that first graders were unconvincing liars, seventh graders were pretty decent, but college students were experts.

Use this tool to find a monthly payment that works for you.The reason they grow into lying is that we parents show them how to with our own behavior. One University of California–San Diego study found that preschoolers and young elementary schoolchildren who had been lied to by an experimenter were more likely both to cheat (they peeked at something when they weren’t supposed to) and then to lie about whether or not they peeked.

You might be thinking this doesn’t apply to you. I thought the same, until the evening my daughter and I were buying birthday favors at Party City. When I told the cashier that I didn’t have an email address when she asked for one, my daughter gave me the side eye. That’s when I realized I was teaching her how to swat off annoyances with little lies. (I now simply say, in a pleasant voice, “I don’t want to give you an email right now.”)

We always think we need a story that justifies how we feel, says etiquette expert Lizzie Post, great-grandchild of etiquette queen Emily Post and co-president of the Emily Post Institute. When there is no significant story, she says, we stretch the truth. These are the little fibs related to flattery, saving face, or protecting ego, such as making up a story about why you aren’t attending a family function or gushing with a friend over their new car when in fact you hate it.

“We teach our children that honesty is the best policy, but we also tell them it’s polite to pretend they like a birthday gift they’ve been given,” Dr. Feldman says. We want to raise kind children and be kind ourselves, except for the times when honesty is more important . . . which is when exactly?

Honesty seems like such a basic concept. So why do we get all tangled up in it, not just in parenting, but also in social situations, at work, and inside our most intimate relationships? It’s a two part answer: (1) the actor-observer bias— whereby we notice other’s lies more easily than our own—keeps us thinking we are more honest than we are (until our kid calls our bluff) and (2) much of what we think and say about honesty is just flat out wrong.

We don’t like to admit that we rely on what behavioral scientists call prosocial lies, or the lies we tell for the benefit of someone else. “It’s so deeply engrained in us to think lying is always wrong,” says Emma Levine, assistant professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, but her research has found that when you walk people through scenarios, they will agree that lying is sometimes the right thing to do.

I’ve noticed that I tend to use prosocial lies to build empathy, like if I see that someone is humiliated about a mistake, I might lie and tell them I made that same mistake when I haven’t. And you know what? I appreciate when someone does the same for me. On a trip last year, I tried to check into the wrong hotel (two sister hotels shared a parking garage) and felt like an idiot.

The valet attendant saw my embarrassment, and assured me he spent the majority of his day helping people who had tried to check into the wrong hotel. Did he really? Probably not. It was nice to hear though.

Prosocial lies may seem trivial, but these small moments can have a great deal of consequence in one-on-one relationships. On a reporting ride-along with a police officer last year, I noticed how patiently the officer listened to the story of a woman reporting a radio stolen from her truck. He handed her a card that assigned her a case number and told her how to work with the investigator. As we walked back to his cruiser, he asked me: “What do you think the chances of that case getting solved are?”

“Probably not very good?” I ventured.

“Pretty much zero,” he said.

“So, why bother with it then? I mean, I guess you have to, but if it’s just pointless, why not just be honest?”

“If she pursues it, we will, too. We’ll try. But in situations like this, people want to be heard. They want their story heard,” he said. “Most of what we do is just listen to people.”

Though we value people who “tell it like it is,” what this woman needed in that moment was to be listened to, more than she probably cared about recovering the radio. The next time she interacts with the police, it might be something more serious—like she could be a key witness in a case. He needs her to trust him, and the way to win her trust is through listening and caring.

Dr. Levine’s research supports the idea that prosocial lying can increase trust when someone has true insight into what the other person needs. Her research in healthcare settings has found that some patients prefer the brutal truth, while others want hope and optimism—but the doctor needs to know what the patient prefers, rather than imposing his or her own ideas about what’s best for the patient.

However, our prosocial lies go wrong when we let fear of the awkward conversation subsume what we know we should do. When an editor of mine was called out by another writer who told him that his style had become abrupt and condescending, he asked me if I felt the same way.

I did, but I froze, tried to skirt the issue, and ultimately said something like, “not really.” On the surface, it may seem kinder, but in fact, it’s cruel, because this person was asking for feedback. I wound up contacting him the next day, fessed up that I was frustrated with him, and we had a thoughtful and helpful conversation.

While that vulnerability isn’t easy, we tend to fear it more than we need to. In a study, Dr. Levine and Taya Cohen, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business, asked people to be completely honest in their dealings with others for three days.

While people predicted that it would ruin their relationships and cause hurt and pain, quite the opposite was true. “They found so much meaning in being honest,” Dr. Cohen says. This is probably why my conversations with my kids around Santa wound up feeling so meaningful, versus ruinous, and why honesty also improved my relationship with that editor.

The biggest thing about honesty we get wrong is missing the opportunity inside conversations with our children about why we lie. Explaining the Santa lie wasn’t that complicated for me, because Santa ultimately belongs in the category of mythology. I’ve learned far more from other unexpected conversations—like when, on the way to a well visit with the pediatrician, my son said, “I’m going to be honest if the doctor asks about screens. You always lie.”

My first response was rising anger, but then I realized this was an opportunity. “You’re right,” I said. “I do tend to lie about it. I shouldn’t. But do you know why I lie?”

“Because it’s bad that I use the iPad so much.”

“It’s not bad. It’s just that doctors think kids watch screens too much, and they’re right. But I don’t always follow what they say. We shouldn’t lie to doctors about things to do with health, though.”

“But you do,” he said.

“I do,” I said. “Because a little part of me feels ashamed that I should be a better mom. I often feel like people are saying I’m not a good mom if I do certain things or don’t do certain things. I feel judged. Do you ever feel that way?”

“Yeah, about my behavior. I’m bad sometimes and I know it.”

What a golden moment to talk about the difference between how we act and who we are, and about the nature of shame and how it so often clouds our choices when it comes to honesty.

By opening up to my kids about my own struggles, I’ve not only learned things about myself that have helped me in my career and my relationships, I’ve also shown them that honesty is a dynamic concept that takes vulnerability, courage, and discernment—excellent life skills to have long after thoughts of flying reindeer have passed.

By Judi Ketteler December 20, 2019

Source: Should You be Lying to Your Kids About Santa?

96.3K subscribers
Has your child been lying to you lately? If so, it might not be as big of a problem as you think. In this episode of Mom Docs, Dr. Dehra Harris, a Pediatric Psychiatrist with Washington University at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, shares some insight on why children lie and what you can do about it. If your child has been lying to you, it’s important to take the age of the child into consideration. In young children, lying marks the beginning of imagination, which is a normal developmental stage. Your child’s lying only becomes a problem when it’s part of a persistent pattern. If your situation involves your child lying often, try these tactics: Approach your child and, without getting emotional, present the information you know to be true. For example, if your child took money off the countertop, you can say, “There is money missing from the counter top. I need you to help me figure this out.” This approach leaves room for two different outcomes: #1. Your child lets you know what happened and they explain their story. #2. You inform them that you know what happened and they do not admit they lied. While both of these situations deserve a consequence, the second should be greater. Repeating this method when your child lies can help put the problem behind you. Visit Children’s MomDocs (a blog by mom physicians at St Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine): http://bit.ly/2fCVkzp Learn more about St. Louis Children’s Hospital – Find a Physician, Get Directions, Request an Appointment, See current ER Wait Times http://bit.ly/2g56onQ Want to hear more from St. Louis Children’s Hospital? Subscribe to the St Louis Children’s Hospital YouTube Channel: http://bit.ly/2cC0jgg Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stlchildrens Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/STLChildrens Learn More About Donating on YouTube: https://support.google.com/youtube/? The St. Louis Children’s Hospital YouTube channel is intended as a reference and information source only. If you suspect you have a health problem, you should seek immediate care with the appropriate health care professionals. The information in this web site is not a substitute for professional care, and must not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. For help finding a doctor, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Answer Line may be of assistance at 314.454.KIDS (5437). The opinions expressed in these videos are those of the individual writers, not necessarily St. Louis Children’s Hospital or Washington University School of Medicine. BJC HealthCare and Washington University School of Medicine assume no liability for the information contained in this website or for its use.

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The Top Ride On Trains On The Market – Family Hype

The train has been a staple child’s toy for many years. When you think of a toy train, you tend to think about a small train set where the train goes about its journey, be it hand or battery powered. These trains are very small, usually too small for even your pet to catch a ride on.

Source: flickr.com

However, another type of train that kids, especially toddlers and younger children love is the ride-on train. With these, your little boy or girl can be the conductor as they take themselves on a one way ticket to fun. There are plenty of ride-on trains in the market. Which ones are the best? Let’s find out.

What To Look For In A Ride On Train

Tracks Or No Tracks?

There are some ride on trains that have their own tracks. These tracks can be built and your child can ride on them. Some trains don’t have tracks, and are just train-shaped carts they can ride on. Who needs tracks? Some kids will like the creativity that comes with building and riding on tracks, while others may like a train where they can ride everywhere that has a solid surface.  Some trains have the option for both. This may be good for a growing child. At first, a set track would be the safest, and as they grow, they can drive around outside the tracks.

Battery or No Battery?

Some trains are battery operated. They move on their own, with gear and braking systems. Then there are those that are powered by pushing or feet. Obviously, the battery powered means that it will be more expensive and can break down more, but it can be more fun. Of course, your budget matters at the end of the day.

Source: maxpixel.net

Design

Does your kid want a train shaped like their favorite character, like Thomas the Tank Engine, or do they want a more realistic train? This can determine which train you buy. Some trains are cheaper and made from plastic, while others will have a steel look that you will love too.

Now, let’s look at some trains.

National 6V Talking

This is a train that can do a lot. It has a 19-foot track and can go up to a mile an hour. It’s not exactly a train that can take you across the country, but for a young child with an imagination, it might as well be. It makes noises too, just like a real train. Your child can shift it forwards or reverse, it has a braking system that activates automatically, and it’s an all-around decent buy. With that said, it does have some durability issues, so if your kid is a roughhouser, you may want to look elsewhere.

Step2 Up & Down Coaster

Step2 is always a good name when it comes to toys for tots. This coaster has the face of Thomas the Tank Engine. Thomas is a character who is beloved by generations of children. Odds are, you may have liked him when you were a kid.

It has a little ramp your kid can use, but it’s not as complex as the other ones. It’s great for young children, as its nonslip steps, handrails, and other safety features ensure a safe and fun ride, but it lacks features that older kids may want.

Source: flickr.com (Rizu14)

Kiddieland Minnie

Minnie Mouse is a great character for your little girl (or boy.) This is a plastic train that has its own track. It has music and sounds you may recognize and its caboose can fit the rest of the toy, making it great for travel. With that said, the toy is very slow, so it’s another one that’s great for little toddlers, but bigger kids may want more.

Morgan Cycle Santa Fe

This is a great steel train that is built for durability. It has a padded seat that’s comfortable, safe, and can be detached to clean. That’s always a plus, isn’t it? It’s non-electric, colorful, and quite fun to steer. It’s great if you want a toddler-powered train that can last, though some kids may want an electric one.

Source: flickr.com (Jason Mrachina)

Rollplay Steam

This is a quite advanced ride-on train. It makes real steam, allowing your kid to think they are really riding on a train. It’s battery powered and rechargeable and a full battery can have two hours of adventuring. Overall, it’s a great train with many uses, and we recommend trying it out. Oh yeah, and it has working headlights, so you may see your kid on it when you think they’re sleeping! All aboard.

Power Wheels Thomas & Friends

Again, who doesn’t love Thomas? This toy will make your child think they are really riding everyone’s favorite blue train. This toy can move forward, steer around, and stop. It comes with a track, and it can go outside its track as well, which is always a plus. It makes real sounds from the show as well, which is always a plus. You can easily assemble it too.

Source: airforcemedicine.af.mil

VTech Sit-to-Stand

This battery powered train not only is fun to ride on, but it can teach your kid about the ABCs. Oh yeah, and it has a piano your kid can play with as well. It has its own learning center to teach your toddler about all the basics. For a toddler, learning has never been more fun, and we know your little one is going to love what he sees. If you want to get your child to learn their alphabet, shapes, numbers, and more, then you should take them aboard the learning train.

Source: flickr.com (Penguino20)

Peg Perego Santa Fe

This is another cool train that can go on a track or off the track, too. The track itself is 12 pieces, and the train has a classic design that is aesthetically pleasing. It makes sounds that resemble a real train and no steering required. Your kid is going to love every bit of it.

 

DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on FamilyHype.com) is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a FamilyHype.com.

Source: The Top Ride On Trains On The Market – Family Hype

Top 18 Virtual Reality Apps That Are Changing How Kids Learn

Technology progress influences the way kids learn, and it’s constantly changing. Internet, smartphones, and apps have connected people globally without caring about the distance. Within seconds you can communicate with anybody anywhere. Virtual reality has taken it a step further. Now it’s possible to visit these faraway places or go back in time without moving an inch. Technology, like virtual reality apps, has brought the real world into the classroom and once again, changing how kids learn…….

Source: Top 18 Virtual Reality Apps That Are Changing How Kids Learn

My Tangled Relationship with My Daughter’s Hair – Leslie Kendall Dye

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I fell in love with a photo I snapped of my daughter at a Christmas day wedding just a month after she’d turned four. I printed the photo and it now sits on a shelf above my desk, framed in silver. It’s difficult to describe precisely what the image suggests to me, but a lot of it has to do with her hair. It’s shaped into a silky confection of a bob, some platonic ideal of how hair should look: neat but glamorous, the light sumptuously dancing in its waves, controlled, sporty, elegant. It is swept back on one side with a barrette, and her face looks up toward the light. She is wearing a frock of tulle and taffeta- she might be in a fairy tale, or a moonlit bay in Maine, or an A.R. Gurney play.

My daughter used to love having her hair cut. She developed an obsession with scissors and their potential relationship to hair when she was only two. She would place her dolls side by side on wooden chairs, drape them with dish towels, and manipulate her father’s long and very real scissors with preternatural dexterity. We told her the hair would not grow back. She was indifferent to this; she just wanted to cut hair, any hair, all hair.

After the bath she would ask me to trim her hair. She’d sit on a towel draped on my bed and I’d begin the haphazard process, cutting along the bottom of her curls. Her hair was wavy enough to be forgiving of my reckless, uneven intrusions. It would fall in satiny clumps around her and she’d squeal, then run through the apartment spinning her head to feel the lightness of her curls.

Then came the bob I captured in that wedding photo. A professional had cut it this time, and my daughter hated what she saw in the mirror, deeming it severe and somehow too deliberate. She didn’t use those words, but I knew what she meant when she complained.

With that, she never wanted to cut her hair again. For a long time, I didn’t worry. I assumed she’d forget the trauma of the salon cut and long for the thrill of scissors in her hair once more. But as that adorable bob grew out, her resolve only hardened. And I began to fret.

Why is her hair such a big deal to me? Why do I want my daughter to hew to the image in the silver frame? It’s been two and a half years and in that time a struggle has played out between my child and me. She will not submit to a trim. She now looks more Haight-Ashbury than A.R. Gurney.

I have imagined cutting it when she falls asleep. It’s a terrible thing to consider, much less admit to. But—her hair. The curls are gone, the weight of two years’ growth has pulled them out. It lies flat; it does not frame her face. So what? She looks different. She looks older. “Can I comb it into pigtails?” I beg. “What about braids? Or ribbons?” No. She likes it down, untended, wild.

“If you won’t trim it,” I say, “then you have to let me condition and comb it at night.” My daughter accepts this, as a way to ward off more demands that she visit the hairdresser. It takes a while to tease out the knots and the rapid motion of my comb slowly working its way down the hair shaft makes her nervous. “You aren’t cutting my hair back there, are you?” my daughter asks. I assure her I’m not, feigning shock that she would think I could commit such treachery; nonetheless, she knows my heart telepathically.

It isn’t just the hair. Something is shifting. Last weekend we received a box of hand-me-downs and before I’d had time to vet them she was gleefully sorting her favorites—”Look Mommy! It says “Star” in sparkles!”

No, no, no! I wanted to scream. That is not what my daughter wears! But it is now. This morning she went to school in a t-shirt studded with sequins and a dung-colored pair of slim-fit pants, her unruly mane cascading down her back. She knew I silently disapproved, and I considered this a personal failure, but slim-fit pants strike me as both confining and too mature. I see in my mind’s eye a Bonwit Teller dress from my youth, something A line and tailored, maybe it’s one I saw my mother wearing in a photo circa 1946. Maybe I’d like my daughter’s clothing, even the very impression she makes, to work as a time machine, forging a connection with a grandmother otherwise lost.

I don’t think she wants my approval; I think she wants me not to care. She doesn’t want me to have a vision of her that does not agree with her own, as if my fantasy could coopt her singular vision of herself. Perhaps it can. When she was a baby, I loved choosing the hats. I put her in sun bonnets, the jauntiest caps, knit beanies with ears. But I knew how important separation and differentiation was, and I prepared myself to let go.

Yet here I am, tangled up in her hair.

I wrote to a friend about it and she wrote back, “Mothers care a lot about hair.” I don’t think I see my daughter as an extension of me, but perhaps in presentation I am unable to fully separate from her. If she is messy, I look messy too. I know a mother who called her pediatrician about her daily battle over clothes with her six-year-old. The doctor asked, “Do you think you look less in control if she leaves the house in a tutu?” “Yes!” the mother replied. Is it simply about control though? I want my daughter to wear clothes that match her youth, her freshness, her recent arrival in the world. If she wears trends, she seems prematurely self-conscious, whereas timeless clothes suggest a freedom from worldly preoccupation.

Maybe that’s what it’s about—time. The longer her hair grows—the more I don’t recognize the clothes and the affect and the expressions she brings home, the more immediate is the sensation of time overcoming me like a riptide. I don’t want the photo under glass; I want the whole child imprisoned there.

They say you must remind yourself that your children do not belong to you.

The truth is more complex. She is more my little girl now than she was as a less formed four year old. Together, we peruse the shelves of the local bookshop, delighting in the first edition Narnia books. “It has to be Pauline Baynes, Mommy.” She knows who illustrated the original Narnia; she is very much my daughter. I recognize the inside of her more and more.

This weekend, I have a haircut appointment. I asked my daughter if she’d like to go, because she still loves watching haircuts.

“No thanks, Mama,” she said.

Then—”I wish you wouldn’t cut your hair.”

We are forever snarled in each other’s hair, my daughter and I, invested in the consistency of the people we know best and need most.

I wish you wouldn’t cut your hair. Oh kid. It cuts both ways.

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