Any time now Josiah will make another step towards growing up. He’s about to lose his first tooth. Not only is he about to lose his first one, but the second will only be a few weeks behind because it’s already pretty loose.
With this right of passage typically comes the introduction to the magical Tooth Fairy. When Josiah was a toddler, Jimmi and I decided that we would not do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. Over the course of the past few years, every time Christmas and Easter comes around I always re-exam why we made our decision and if we made the right one. It’s hard because there are still so many parents encouraging these things that some have tried to change our minds or challenge our reasoning. It’s not that we care whether other parents are doing it or that we think other parents are wrong for doing it — it’s just not right for our family.
Now that Josiah is getting ready to lose his first tooth I’ve started to mull over the idea of the Tooth Fairy. I’ve been thinking about reasons why other parents choose to do the Tooth Fairy and what reasons we have for not wanting to do it. I even took the time to Google reasons why parents do it (if you know me personally this doesn’t surprise you).
Here are some of the top reasons Google gives for parents encouraging the Tooth Fairy:
- Because their parents did it.
- They want to cultivate fantasy and imagination. The children grow up soon enough and parents want them to have some magical fun while they still can.
- It helps ease the fear of losing a tooth.
- Giving money is a way to encourage responsibility with this new milestone.
If you and your family have a Tooth Fairy and your reason is one of the above or simply for the fun of it that’s great. Don’t think what I say is meant to try and change your mind or make you feel like you’re wrong.
I look at the above reasons and only #1 seems to have any bearing on our decision. Basically the “everyone’s doing it” reason is pretty popular and it was almost one of the only motivating factors for us to do it. Most of us with young children only remember a childhood that was filled with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. That doesn’t mean that’s the only right way to have a childhood.
I believed in the Tooth Fairy and so did my sister. It wasn’t a big deal and I don’t think I was ever told by my parents that the Tooth Fairy didn’t exist I just figured it out. No harm and no foul. So my reasoning for not doing it isn’t because of some scarring event of my childhood or because my parents also chose not to do it.
The idea of encouraging my children to believe in these three characters for the sake of encouraging imagination is silly to me. Josiah has a great imagination. He indulges in fantasy play just like every other child his age. The range of his imagination was not dependent on his belief in any of these characters.
The fear factor of losing a tooth may be real for some children. I didn’t like the process of pulling the tooth out because of the pain, but the idea of getting money didn’t make that process any easier. Josiah isn’t really scared of the idea of losing a tooth. He’s actually excited because it’s a sign of growing up. This kind of goes along with the idea of using the money as a means of responsibility. Josiah already has responsibilities and we also show him about managing money by teaching him how we save and spend money.
My general opinion is that money should be given for hard work (minus gifts) — not for a naturally occurring event. I didn’t give him cookies or money when he used the potty, why would I give him money for having a tooth fall out?
Like I said earlier, this is our family’s opinion and no one else is required or encouraged to believe as we do. Every parent has a right to make the decisions regarding their kids. However, I do encourage you to do what you believe is best for your family and not allow yourself to be persuaded by friends and family and society’s norms regarding raising children.
If you don’t want to follow the crowd and give money to your kids when they lose a tooth — then don’t. There’s nothing wrong with it and your children won’t be scarred. If you want to give money to your kids when they lose a tooth — then do it. There’s nothing wrong with it and your children won’t be scarred. Just do what’s best for you and your family.