Is it more important to 'Keep It Real' with our kids, on all levels? Or is it a healthy part of growing up and developing emotional intelligence to foster a little 'make-believe'?
Hmmm. <thoughtful look on face>
In my previous rant I talked about the difficulties I've had in managing conflictual information She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink has been given through her peers and their parents or siblings.
If you read that, you'd have to be wondering what I told her about the tooth fairy, without calling her bestie’s Dad a liar-liar pants on fire?
If you didn’t, first of all; SHAME ON YOU!! Secondly I'll be generous enough to give you a brief re-cap:
" ..her best friend told her that her father said the tooth fairy wasn’t real. She'd only just lost her first tooth and was still in raptures over the teeny-tiny letter she found with a coin under her pillow. Then her best friend’s dad comes over all; ‘let’s stick to facts-kiddo’ Pinkster was so upset she was hyperventilating through her tears to the point, I thought I might have to give her some Ventolin.
But I sat her in my lap and calmed her down a bit and I said "sweetie, very few people believe in fairies and that's a bit sad." I explained to her, If you don’t believe in something it becomes pretty hard to see it - especially since you don’t even look. And I agreed her besties parent’s must put the money under her pillow precisely because they didn’t believe the fairy would come. I suppose a fairy seeing money already under the pillow would just think another fairy got mixed up on her route and did one of hers. (She-Who-No-Longer-Worships-Pink loved that idea – fairies schedules getting mixed up)
I told her there are lots of things lots of people believe in that no-one has never seen; Like angles and miracles. I was about to mention God, Allah, Jehovah etc. then pulled myself up short of a long discussion on theology.
So I said it’s perfectly alright to have your own beliefs about mystical things and you don’t have to accept other peoples beliefs. Or challenge them.
Then I sat her down to watch Fairy Tale-a True Story. Now her imagination is thankfully, fully restored and she still sees wonder in Santa Clause and believes in Angels.
She asked me if I really believe in fairies. And I think I do. (especially after watching that film – which is based on a true story) By my own arguments who’s to say they’re not real because we haven’t witnessed them ourselves? There are many species we’re still discovering and the tiny ones are usually the most defensive, well camouflaged and therefore hardest to see. Maybe they just need a bit of help with the logistics of coin/tooth exchanging and note writing.
But Don’t Take my word for it..
I’ve already done some research previously about the importance of imagination and fantasy in children’s’ cognitive development, but If you would like to read something more serious (written by a more credible individual than yours truly ) with this Wall Street Journal article: 'The Power of Magical Thinking'
I hit pay-dirt. And it specifically mentions the tooth fairy.
“It is important but not necessary for parents to encourage fantasy play in their children, says Dr. Woolley. If the child already has an imaginary friend, for instance, parents should follow their children's lead and offer encouragement if they are comfortable doing so, she says. Similarly, with Santa, if a child seems excited by the idea, parents can encourage it.” Jacqueline Woolley, Psychologist and professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Well thanks a bunch Dr Wooley, always nice to have confirmation from an expert that you’re not stuffing up right royally as a parent.
So what other potential parental failing can I obsess over now?
toothless girl - image credit