Guilty of a parenting fail

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Mistake, Tooth Fairy, parenting fail
I am today guilty of a parenting fail; #facepalm

I’ve done something a bit stupid. Truth is, I’m guilty of a parenting fail. We’re not talking anything dangerous or life threatening, simply something a bit daft that has backfired. My crime; to leave Helen, my six year old, a note from the Tooth Fairy.

That may seem very innocuous. Only thing is my little message has gone and strengthened her belief in this mythical creature, something I was not keen on doing.

You’re probably wondering what the big problem is. Well, I’m not huge fan of the Tooth Fairy or Father Christmas, as he is celebrated in the UK. Far from being harmless fun, I think both send out the message to kids that it’s okay to be dishonest.

Yes yes, that comment will probably get me in huge trouble. I’m afraid that’s just the way I feel. In my ideal world, the kids would wake up on Christmas day with presents at the end of the bed, but they’d be told exactly who had put them there. In the face of strong opposition from Mrs Adams, however, I tolerate an annual visit from the guy with the sleigh and reindeer. But I digress, back to the Tooth Fairy and my parenting fail.

A few weeks ago Helen asked me if the Tooth Fairy was real. I told her the truth, but said she would still receive money when her milk teeth fell out. Unfortunately, it didn’t sink in.

Yesterday she lost her first tooth. This was a cause of great excitement and she went to bed with the tooth under her pillow expecting the “Tooth Fairy” (note the speech marks) to leave her some money.

My wife went to bed at about 10pm last night. I said I’d take care of leaving some money under Helen’s pillow.

At the last minute I decided to write a note to Helen, from the Tooth Fairy. It seemed like a good opportunity to write a little something about the importance of brushing your teeth for a full two minutes, visiting the dentist and avoiding sugary snacks. For the amusement value, I also added a line suggesting she “speak to mummy and daddy about investing your £1 in your Junior ISA”.

As I wrote the note, I questioned my wisdom. Was I not simply building the Tooth Fairy up into something it isn’t and giving her cause to believe it?  “Nah, she’ll know it’s not real,” I thought. It was, after all, written on the computer, albeit in a fancy font in bright coloured ink.

Of course this approach has backfired. Massively. She  came into our bedroom at 4am brandishing the note. Naturally I had to read it to her. It’s simply convinced her more than ever the Tooth Fairy is real. Oh, and she wants to spend her pound on roller skates.

I’m now lumbered with a problem. Do I tell her the truth or not? I’m tempted to do so as I think this could get out of hand.

There was one good thing to come out of all this. When she brushed her teeth this morning, she was in the bathroom for an incredibly long time. It turns out she was counting to 120 in a bid to make sure she did it for the full two minutes. Every cloud and all that.

Pic credit; Hobvias Sudonelghm, reproduced under Creative Commons agreement

19 thoughts on “Guilty of a parenting fail”

  1. don’t you dare tell my niece the tooth fairy doesn’t exist 🙂 🙂
    That is the beauty of Childhood and children. Look what is happening around the world, let her believe in it as long as you can.!!! I am not exagerating,I managed to make your nephew believe in Santa until he was 10 years old.And the tooth fairy ( in france it is the little mouse ) until he was 11. And because I managed that long, when we than had the conversation that it was me all a long, he loved it, still laughs about it, and is even happy that I managed to sneek around that long!!!! He understands that I did it as a loving mother to make him dream longer!! And he is extremely happy about that!!
    Love you my Brother 🙂

    1. So the French are quite happy to let disease carrying rodents go on the rampage in their children’s bedrooms? And the children are forced to eat raw meat? THIS is why I have so few relatives left living in France.

  2. Faiytales help children process events, & fire imagination. We all need a little magic John, let her have it for a while longer. (Good work on the brushing though, if only I could manage that…)

    1. Well, you see, there’s quite a story telling tradition in our family. I love making up stories for the kids so their imaginations are well and truly fired up already. It may be strong language, but it’s all a bit duplicitous. Father Christmas, who has his roots in a genuine religious character who helped the poor (Saint Nicholas of Turkey) has become such a central part of Christmas. Kids seem to expect to receive, receive, receive and the giving message has become muddied. This whole Tooth Fairy thing and my response to it has kinda fanned the flames. I just wanna be truthful with my kids! It’s all so difficult. But at least Helen’ll have clean teeth.

  3. I’m with you big man, if it was up to me Jolly Old Saint Nick would not exist in our house either! Sadly I’m scared of my wife so every year I nod to Father Crimbo too.

    1. What worries me Tony, is that my eldest can be very sensitive. When she finds out she’ll be so upset. It’s totally avoidable. With this Tooth Fairy thing I’ve stocked the fire haven’t I? Stupid boy that I am.

  4. “speak to mummy and daddy about investing your £1 in your Junior ISA”.hahaha, that is SO something I would write! My daughter is only 16 months old so I haven’t decided which side of the fence I’m about telling the truth about these things or not… This has given me some food for thought! #babybrainmonday

    1. Glad to have given you some food for thought. I worked with someone whose parents didn’t do the Father Christmas thing. Yes, presents were left at the end of the bed but she knew exactly where they came from. She did not seem to have lost out on any major part of her childhood as a result.

  5. absolutely prabulous

    I’m with you on the lying aspect. This could well be why I keep ‘forgetting’ to give them money (don’t know if you’ve seen my post on the utter fiasco that ensued once). And the whole Santa thing; my kids must realise by now given how many times I’ve mistakenly mentioned the gifts I got them that are in their stockings each year. Useless! One of my sisters goes to town with the reindeer food on the garden path etc. I can’t stand the deceit quite honestly. I did giggle at the mental image of your daughter bursting into the room! Thanks for linking to #BabyBrainMonday

    1. Hurrah! I am not alone. I find it astonishing how most parents think this behaviour is “all a part of childhood”. It isn’t; it’s about the parents having some fun and completely dilutes the religious message about Christmas being about giving. Anyway, I shall hunt down your Tooth Fairy blog post. .

  6. No!!! Don’t tell her, let her work it out on her own. Maybe writing the letter was a step too far as at this age the children are still very literal aren’t they – I know my daughter can work things out for herself but if she found a note under her pillow I’m not sure she’d know how it got there so would jump to one logical conclusion. The tooth fairy!
    With the next tooth maybe not the note, but let her enjoy a moment of tooth fairy magic!

    1. Yeah….writing the letter was a bit daft. As it happens she lost a tooth the very next day and wondered why she didn’t get a response!

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