IS IT good or bad to encourage belief in fairies? My daughter aged four is getting a 'fairy door', which is a door that attaches to the wall, and an imaginary fairy lives inside.
However, when asked what she is getting for Christmas, some people have a look of shock that the fairy will be living in our house; etc.
This has made me think if this kind of a toy is good or bad, psychologically, for a child.
My husband worries that she might get bullied or even scared? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
I think it is fine for young children to believe in fairies. We know that many children have imaginary friends, some of whom have to be accommodated at the dinner table or with their own sleeping quarters!
A rich and full imagination is a terrific thing for any child to have. Fairy stories, like many of the fairy tales that we tell children, will certainly open up their minds to the magical, the unknown and the improvable.
Goodness knows what would happen if we humans were restricted to only believing in things that we could see, touch, smell, hear or taste.
In my opinion, the major religions would crumble if they were constricted by the need for evidence to back up the beliefs.
It is the very essence of faith, to believe in something that you cannot prove.
Many families actively promote this with religious beliefs. So if your daughter wants to believe in fairies, then she is as entitled to do so as she is entitled to believe in God.
There are other mythical beings that we actively encourage children to believe in. Indeed the whole of society joins together to create one particular magical world for children.
So we can hardly be hypocritical and say that it is okay to believe in some things that cannot be proven and then to deny a child's desire to believe in other things that we cannot prove (or disprove) the existence of.
I think it is unlikely that her peers will bully her. Many of them would be quite happy to believe in fairies too. Older children and adults, I would have thought, would see her belief as quite endearing rather than a reason to mock her.
She could get scared if she believed that the fairies are some kind of negative or undesirable presence. If she believes that they are there to harm or damage her or you, then she might be frightened.
However, if she sees that actually you are facilitating them by creating a door to help them get access to this world then she is unlikely to think that they are coming with destruction in mind.
As with many other imaginary beings that children will create and play with for periods in their lives, her belief and interest in fairies will fade in time. The magical thinking that young children can generate in their naivety and innocence is typically transient.
So, if she has a vibrant and animated imagination that is willing to be open to fairies or other mythical and magical beings, then this is something to be celebrated. The realities of our world will impinge in due course!