Researchers say lying to your kids about Santa is bad for their mental health

Santa gets his reindeer ready at the North Pole.
Santa gets his reindeer ready at the North Pole.

EXETER, England (NEWS10) –Lying to children about Santa may be bad for their mental health, according to researchers at the University of Exeter.

Psychologist Christopher Boyle and mental health researcher Kathy McKay say children’s trust in their parents may be undermined by the Santa lie.

“If they are capable of lying about something so special and magical, can they be relied upon to continue as the guardians of wisdom and truth?” they wrote.

Boyle and McKay say that lying to children may be okay in certain circumstances.

“An adult comforting a child and telling them that their recently deceased pet will go to a special place (animal heaven) is arguably nicer than telling graphic truths about its imminent re-entry into the carbon cycle,” they write.

The lie may not purely be just for children. Boyle and McKay say it’s a chance for adults to go back in time when they believed in magic.

The article was published in The Lancet Psychiatry.