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Bedtime Stories- Are Fairy Tales a bad Tale?

Ask anyone and they will tell you that my favorite pastime is reading.  There is nothing better than a good book.  For a short time you can imagine life in a different way and imagine all the things that is described in the book.  It is my virtual reality go to because my imagination lets me choose what I see.
I read to E in the womb and almost 18 years later these books are still a part of our library.  There are fables, fairy tales,and nursery rhymes that I would read to him every day when I was pregnant.  I remember when he started to talk and we would read he would know the words and repeat them back as I was saying them which made me really believe in the power of a mother's words to her child in the womb. 

In the last 18 years I have read so many "news" stories about how certain genres of books are not good to read to your children as they set them up to have unrealistic expectations about life.  One such genre is fairy tales.  Fairy tales have claims against them that they are negative as they lower self-esteem and impact the way children see the world in a negative or unrealistic way.  
The claim is that self-esteem is lowered because all the princesses are beautiful and will only find a husband because they are beautiful.  An additional claim is that children cannot determine the difference between what is real and false such as Snow White eating the poison apple and falling into a sleep and not getting sick from the apple.  Or that Little Red Riding Hood was allowed to be in a dangerous environment with no parental assistance leaving her to the wolf.

I believe that Fairy Tales encourage imagination and encourage children to learn about morals and ethics.  It also tells children in a mild manner the importance of stranger danger, making good choices, and learning from their mistakes.  Will they understand these things right away? No, but who learns by doing something once?  Life is about trial and error and fairy tales provide this example.

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast.  While the story can be considered scary there are so many life lessons in this story.  For example- Belle looked for her father because he was sick and elderly.  She took care of him and took his place to allow him to be safe and protected.  Beast has bad manners that turned him from a Prince to a Beast... this does not have to be literal but figurative.  If you are mean and think nothing of yourself then those around you will not look to be nice to you in return.  Belle taught Beast that you have more success in life by being nice no matter what and he changed back to the Prince.  

What do you think about Fairy Tales?
Yay or Nay?
Share your thoughts with me I would love to know.

1 comment

  1. I think sometimes we try too hard to protect our children and sometimes THAT is a bit more harmful.
    While I can understand how confusing these stories can be for very young children, I remember growing up hearing (and reading) these stories. I don't remember ever thinking these stories were literal, but I do remember that we actually learned about the different story types. I'm not sure how much emphasis is based on that part today.


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