My husband and I both work full time and have three kids, so we purchased a domestic Synthetic to lighten the load. But it concerns me that our youngest doesn’t seem to understand our Synth isn’t a real person. My wife thinks she’ll grow out of it. Who’s right?
– Troubled in Tampa
Dear Troubled in Tampa,
There have been studies that claim sustained close exposure to Synthetics can interfere with a child’s development, as they don’t get the subtle human emotional responses we need to develop empathy. And, yes, there have been a few isolated cases where a disturbed child has formed an unhealthy fixation on a Synthetic. But there are just as many researchers that have found zero evidence that Synthetics are harmful to little kids, as part of a healthy home environment.
Now, my own son, Lucas, is four. At last count, he believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and ghosts. He also treats our two Synthetics as good pals. So where’s the harm? I’ve told him Jerome and Dottie aren’t quite people. He seems to get it. But if not, I’m happy to let him be a kid and enjoy the fantasy for a while. He’ll figure it out as he grows up. And, if my little Lucas didn’t have his “pretend friends” as we call them, he’d just imagine them – hardly healthier, if you ask me!
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