Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where are the parenting books I really need?

How to Raise a Non-Santa Child in a Santa Culture
I could really use this one right about now. Seriously. This is the first year we're dealing with the issue of Santa Claus. I am fine with the idea of St. Nicolas and Sinterklass and even Father Christmas...all well meaning men and all now very much not alive. And none of them were registered home invaders. I am not okay with the American version of Santa Claus...a fat old man fondling small children, keeping tabs on naughty boys and girls, bribing them with gifts, breaking into houses in the wee hours of the morning...ewww. I cannot be the only person this creeps out.

Anyway, my own issues aside...Christmas isn't about gifts and Santa Claus. (Yes, I know...December 25th was/is a Pagan holy day taken over by the Romans in an effort to promote Christianity and that Jesus was most likely born in the spring and that the wise men didn't make it until he was almost 2--I got all of that, however, the day has come to symbolize the birth of there.) I don't appreciate the idea of complete strangers asking my son what he wants Santa to bring him for Christmas and if he's all excited about Santa coming. That ranks right up there with complete strangers touching my pregnant belly--when I had one. Don't do it. Don't push your beliefs on my children. That's my job.

Now I have a very brilliant four-year-old informing me, on a daily basis, what Santa is going to bring him. And every day I have to do damage control. All the while walking that fine line between our own unique life and respecting another's way of life and parenting. Which brings me to the other book I desperately need...

How to Unlearn the Playground Lessons and Words Without My Child Going Back and Referring to the Other Parents as Idiots
I realize that not all parents feel the same regarding what makes an appropriate toy and what doesn't. Guns, for instance. I've talked about this before. We will not purchase toy guns for our children. At no point do I want to plant the seed that guns are toys. They aren't. Ever. Yes, my son creates and builds his own toy guns but "guns" made out of k'nex or toast or Legos or sticks will never be mistaken for the real thing. Neither will the bright colored stubby water pistols I broke down and bought for them last summer.

Not all parents take issue with their children talking about killing each other, calling each other idiots or using "potty" words on the playground--words and behaviors my son did not have prior to the beginning of the school year. Okay, he had the potty words but he never talked about killing someone. Once again, I'm tasked with damage control.

Fortunately I have the good doctor on my side...

"So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left." ~Theodore Gisel


Marit said...

Hey Dori. Friends of ours find a pretty cool way (i think) to deal with the sinterklaas issue here. As soon as the kids started asking questions they told them Sinterklaas was a big game, played by everyone in the country. The tv joins in, the mayor joins in, everyone joins in! So we can all play together, but remember, it's a game.
Would that work with Santa as well? It gives your boy room for imagination and the fun of playing along. And you're not lying either.

mommycares said...

Good one on Simply Dori - it helps a lot!

We clearly share similar parenting experiences and views.
I've been reading one that I'm hooked on -
I have a feeling you'd get a lot out of it.

Incredible job on your blog; keep it up.


Dori said...

I love it when you stop by, Marit! The "it's just a story/game" has been working...sorta. I think it'll get easier to explain as he gets older. I've been telling him that Santa is much like one of his other imaginary friends--of which there are numerous! Because I don't want to squash this amazing part of his childhood either. Fine line, indeed!

Amy, thanks for stopping by! I'll have to dig around on that link looks interesting but looks like it also needs a road map! :D

Tara said...

so glad to read someone else has issues with this... my big thing is now my three year old is saying things like, so Santa is like God coz he knows everthing. also am taking the story/game approach, especially as my husbands best memoies of his own dad revolve around thier Santa related traditions. Damage control is a great way to put it, my 3 year has picked up on girls attitude/eye rolling and things at school and i have had to retrain it out of her, not to mention the killing/punching/'potty' talk. Then we have to deal with her taking the attitude towards people once i have convinced her those are 'yucky' words,that those people are 'yucky'. Its a fine line for sure

clady said...

My 24 year old daughter was wondering how I could raise 2 girls who never believed in Santa. I just told my girls that the man they saw and others told of, was just a very nice man who wanted to brighten someone's day....and don't tell him he has bad breath.

When other children brought up the subject, we told our children not to tell them there was no Santa and try not to talk about it. Just talk about the day itself or change the subject. Most of our friends felt the same way so we were lucky in that respect.

Because of Love said...

I think when Alyse gets older I am just going to tell her Santa is a fun Christmas tradition. I don't ever want to "lie" to her about it. But I do want her to enjoy it as a child.

When I was little my parents always told us that Santa was someone who loved us and wanted to give us something nice for Christmas, but we always knew that the guys at the mall and on tv were just playing dress up.

And so with you on the gun thing!!!! If we ever have a little boy he will not be able to have a play gun. It is so dangerous.