Letting a child believe in foolishness?

I’ve never believed that lying to children is helpful in any way. When they eventually find out that you’ve lied, they have a hard time trusting you in the future. If he asks, just tell him ‘no’ in a matter of fact tone, and move on to business.

I wouldn’t engage; deflect the subject and get back to business.

If he insists on raising the subject, tell him you’ll show him real magic–then play a Chopin prelude. Tell him that’s the magic you’re helping him to master.

“If I tell him his spell didn’t work because there’s no such thing as magic (nicely, of course) I might do irreparable damage to him.”

C’mon, man–You don’t really believe that, do you?

it really depends on the individual kid. 12 is an age where one kid might still be more or less a “little kid,” while another one is a hulk. My co-worker’s stepson was 3" taller and probably 10-20lbs heavier than me when he was 12.

Reminds me of an episode years ago.

One summer we sent our young daughter to a summer day camp- “Fairy Boot Camp”. I can’t recall, but I’m guessing around kindergarten or first grade age.

The kids came back with stories about how fairies were real, and that they were being shown actual pictures of them.

This caused far more consternation among the parents in general than the woman running the camp was expecting, and this was walked back before we had a chance to say much. But I remember thinking, "Okay, there’s the Santa Claus thing and the Easter Bunny thing, and the Tooth Fairy thing. I think I can explain why I went along with the crowd and participated in those (bebign) deceptions. But do I want to play along and later have to explain why I did it again?!

Twelve seems a bit old to seriously believe in his magical abilities. But I agree with those up-thread that you don’t have an obligation to encourage or discourage that kind of thinking. I do understand that you have to converse with this kid (about non-musical stuff) if you want to have a good teaching relationship. Maybe you can say, “How unusual!”, shake your head, and change the subject. Not wrong to mention it to parents, maybe unnecessary.

If you do engage on this topic, I like the up-thread post which points out that if one does have special powers (no matter how great or how small), one should be encouraged to use them for good, not evil.

Actually, I think you’re better off with ‘No I didn’t, now play Scarlatti.’ If he needs to hang onto the wizard thing, for whatever reason, he’ll just find a way to work that into his mythology. If he’s moving towards letting go of it, your ‘no’ will help.

I also kind of like the ‘a real wizard wouldn’t try to harm someone who’s trying to help him’ angle.

And there’s the fact that, at that age in particular, physical development is absolutely no indicator of emotional development. The scrawny little snippet who looks like a little kid often gets treated like one - but he or she might well be years ahead, emotionally, of the great big hulk who gets treated like an adult but is still internally a little kid.

Tell him that God will smite him for such effrontery.

Because physical size is a GREAT indication of mental maturity… :rolleyes:

I think a case by case basis is the best way to handle it. Some foolishness I feel should be nipped in the bud while other things will likley work themselves out soon enough. I like to think about 8 years old is old enough to have outgrown imaginary things.

At 12 I still had some lingering belief that I could communicate with animals on a telepathic level but I didn’t share it with anyone that I can rememeber, by 13 it was gone.

I’m impressed! Scarlatti at 12? Yay, kid! (Yay, teacher, too!)

(MMMmmmmm… Scarlatti…)

But, yeah, like most have said here, deflect and move on to the music. It’s a little like talking religion in the workplace: it just isn’t going to be a good idea.

Ah, irony. We don’t get that here.

Says the guy with the BA in Music that has never earned me a dime in my life.

Yeah, because that was the point I was making…

The kid fucked up the spell. He gave you cancer.

Come on! Nobody here wanted to go to sorcery school as a kid?

I was thinking the same thing.

He’s probably reading the Harry Potter series.


The only extent to which I would ‘play along’ would be to raise an eyebrow and say “are you sure you’re allowed to do that outside of Hogwarts, Mr Riddle?”

…I’m reconsidering this, pianodave…

If your student resembles this guy:


…just tell him: “It’s a good thing!”

Out of curiosity, would folks think about it differently if he ascribed his magical powers to a different source–say, a close and personal relationship with Jesus, and prayer?

He’s a 12 year old and is either an immature idiot or is trolling you. Either way you need to stop your engagement with him on this topic. It’s your job to teach piano and somehow you have instigated a scenario where he is casting harmful spells on you, a subject on which you are apparently eager to engage him further.

If I was his parent I would terminate your teaching. If a kid starts yammering about being a wizard your response of “Oh yeah, no way, show me” is an invitation for them to act out. Your job is to teach piano, focus on that you don’t need to be his personal truth teller.

If he’s using the Holy Spirit to cause me to have gastrointensinal distress, my response would still be the same. He’s not a real Christian if he’s using that power for evil.

If he told me he was going to pray for me to be rich and happy, then I’d go along with it.

Hilarious thread title, by the way. I opened this up expecting “Hey, kid! Santa doesn’t exist! God neither!”