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Tuesday 26 September 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Shutterstock/Jack Frog
# back to reality
Do parents get excited about Christmas, just for the chance to relive their own childhood?
A new report in The Lancet claims that parents can be guilty of ignoring “the harshness of real life”.

CHILDREN ARE NOT the only ones who get excited about the imminent arrival about Santa Claus. Parents get excited too.

Writing in The Lancet Psychiatry, researchers have claimed that some parents at Christmas time are motivated by a desire to relive their own fond memories of childhood, rather than from wanting to create a magical time for their children.

She said: “Many people may yearn for a time when imagination was accepted and encouraged, which may not be the case in adult life.”

Parents buy into the fantasy around Christmas time in an attempt to recapture the feeling they had back when they believed magic was real, according to the Dr Kathy McKay, mental health researcher from the University of New England, Australia.

She said: “Many people may yearn for a time when imagination was accepted and encouraged, which may not be the case in adult life.”

She added that the prevalence of Harry Potter, Star Wars and Doctor Who fandom was a sign that “this desire to briefly re-enter childhood” persists into adulthood.

The new report from researchers at the University of Exeter also says that children’s trust in their parents may be undermined by certain lies told about important issues around Christmas time.

“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 write.

Psychologist Professor Christopher Boyle said that the morality of making children believe in myths for a period of many years “has to be questioned”.

All children will eventually find out they’ve been consistently lied to for years, and this might make them wonder what other lies they’ve been told.

The researchers do accept that there are some degrees to which lying to someone to protect them from being hurt is acceptable, such as in the case of the passing of a loved one.

They did reinforce that, in terms of Christmas time, it is important to ask “whether lying in this way will affect children in ways that have not been considered”.

The report concludes:

Might it be the case that the harshness of real life requires the creation of something better, something to believe in, something to hope for in the future or to return to a long-lost childhood a long time ago in a galaxy far far away?”

So what do you think? Do parents get excited about Christmas in an attempt to relive their own childhood?

Poll Results:

Yes (1555)
No (607)
No interest/no opinion (184)

Read: The Dublin Airport Santa has taken up his position in Terminal 2 and people are excited

Read: Gardaí pulled over a rather suspicious character in Kildare this morning

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