Why the belief in the Easter bunny does not damage the relationship of trust between parents and child
Easter is coming next weekend. Millions of children in Germany and in many parts of the world look for brightly painted Easter eggs on Easter Sunday. Parents hide all kinds of sweets in the little nests. Most children believe that the Easter bunny "secretly" hides the eggs that the children can look for and collect the next morning. Lena from Hanover (5) is already looking forward to the gifts from the Easter Bunny: “The Easter Bunny comes at night, my parents told me. Then I search for the goodies that the lovely rabbit has hidden for us together with my heaviest. Unfortunately I haven't seen the Easter bunny yet ”. Are parents allowed to "lie" to their children and report about a being that really does not exist? Because parents are the most important sources of truth for the children. Could the relationship of trust suffer if they uncover the lie? Experts provide answers to these questions.
Astrid Gerber, mother of three, doesn't think much of Easter. “My children should know from the start that the Easter bunny doesn't exist. After all, I don't want them to know that their parents lied to them for years. ” The Heidelberg medical professor Georg Franck von Franckenau discovered in 1682 that the custom of Easter made children ignorant to the laughter of the elderly. In his book "De Ovis Paschalibus - From Easter Eggs" he wrote: "You make more simple-minded people and small children know that these Easter bunnies hatch and hide them in the garden, in the grass, in the bushes and so on, and you want to let the boys search for the amusing laughter of the older ones. "
Sandra Olmützer, mother of a four-year-old son, sees it very differently: “My child is so excited about the Easter bunny. His eyes light up when I tell him about it. At some point he will find out himself that the Easter Bunny doesn't exist. And he will know that I gave him joy at that time. "
Should parents deliberately deceive their children?
Two different positions on one sensitive question: Should parents deceive their children or should they take away the illusion of the Easter bunny? What do experts say about the topic? "The child's belief in fantasy shapes is quite good for cognitive development," explains psychologist and researcher Dr. Jacqueline Woolley from the US University of Texas at Austin. The child psychologist has been researching brain development for many years. The belief in the Easter bunny "stimulates the imagination and lets children consider opportunities that do not exist in the real world," says the scientist.
Gritli Bertram, social worker from Hanover, advises parents not to take away the child's belief in the Easter Bunny. "When other children talk enthusiastically about the Easter Bunny, their own child is very sad when their own parents say: There is no Easter Bunny!" It does "no harm to the children to believe in mythical creatures, Santa Clauses or Easter Bunnies," she emphasizes Pedagogue. On the contrary: each child draws his own picture of the rabbit inside. “This stimulates creativity and promotes intellectual abilities,” says Bertram.
At the age of three, most children begin to believe in creatures from the fantasy world. The parents are considered very honest and credible. When they tell of the Christ child, Nicholas or the Easter bunny, the children usually take it from them.
However, psychologist Ute Bayen from the University of Düsseldorf warns of too great disappointments and the loss of trust between parents and child. “The relationship of trust is at risk here. Because the children could be disappointed if they realize that they have been lied to. ”According to the expert, parents should therefore deal with the issue with sensitivity. If children start to doubt the existence of the Easter Bunny, parents should not necessarily oppose it. It is better to support critical questioning. For example: “Can small rabbits really have such large eggs?
Support critical inquiries
At such moments, the American psychologist Jacqueline Woolley advises parents to allow the children to ask critical questions and have them told. The children should simply tell themselves what they believe in and what they don't. In her experience, the Easter bunny is never as important as the Christ child or Santa Claus. The latter are more firmly anchored in society anyway and are more important to children. For this reason "doubts arise much earlier in the Easter bunny," she says. It is therefore not a problem if parents "play the Easter bunny" as long as it is fun for everyone involved. If that's no longer the case, that's fine. "Children can also develop their imagination in other ways."
The child and adolescent psychiatrist Gerd Lehmkuhl from the University Clinic in Cologne says that children stop believing in the Easter bunnies as they develop. This usually happens when children are talking about the topic in kindergarten or school. Children notice that there is no such thing, and yet they hope that “the rabbit will come and bring the eggs.” In no case can the children suffer psychological damage, says the teacher Bertram. "As long as everything is done in a playful way, young and old can take part in the game of hiding Easter eggs". The children will not reproach the parents later. Eventually they realize that mother or father was the Easter bunny who hid the delicious chocolate bunnies. (sb)
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