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Parenting Beyond Belief, 2nd Edition by Dale McGowan

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The Question of the Claus: Should the Santa Story Stay or Go in Secular Families?

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Put the Claus Away

TOM FLYNN

Eighty-five percent of American four-year-olds believe in Santa Claus. But does the myth hurt or help in raising independent thinkers? Amazingly, science offers little guidance. Although it has become a nearly universal rite of passage for American preadolescents to discover that the most cherished belief of their childhoods was an elaborate parental lie, few researchers have studied the phenomenon—or if they have, few have opted to publish what they have found.

Hard data are so sparse that Santa’s defenders still ...

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