Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Fairy tales - essential to childhood?


                 Why are parents deciding not to read Fairy tales to their children?

The story of Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretal, Jack and the beanstalk.........so many wonderful tales which I loved hearing and reading when I was a child. But, these days many parents are shunning these old favourites. According to the Telegraph earlier this year, Fairytales are deemed by many parents to be too scary to be read to their children.

The top ten stories left on the shelf and the reasons why are:

1. Hansel and Gretel - Details two kids abandoned in the forest and likely to scare young children

2. Jack and the Beanstalk - Deemed too 'unrealistic'.

3. Gingerbread Man - Would be uncomfortable explaining gingerbread man gets eaten by a fox

4. Little Red Riding Hood - Deemed unsuitable by parents who have to explain a young girl's grandmother has been eaten by a wolf.

5. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves - the term dwarves was found to be inappropriate

6. Cinderella - Story about a young girl doing all the housework was outdated.

7.Rapunzel - Parents were worried about the focus on a young girl being kidnapped.

8.Rumplestiltskin - Wouldn't be happy reading about executions and kidnapping

9.Goldilocks and the Three Bears - Sends the wrong messages about stealing

10.Queen Bee - Inappropriate as the story has a character called Simpleton

Yet, a counter argument from a child development expert, Sally Goddard Blythe, claims that by shunning these stories, parents are disregarding an opportunity to teach their children morals:

"Fairy tales help to teach children an understanding of right and wrong, not through direct teaching, but through implication.

"They help to develop imagination and creativity and they help children to understand their own emotional dilemmas in an imaginative way rather than through direct instruction.

"When you don’t give children these stereotypes of good and bad, you don’t give them a moral code on which to start to develop their own lives."

Personally, I see no problem in teaching my daughter the morals in fairy tales. She already has a liking for stories about princesses and many fairy tales feature such characters. When she is old enough to ask questions about what is happening in the tales, I will just be honest with her and ask her to describe what could be wrong in the story. I hope that the stories will not make her cry for being too scary, but if they are I will just explain to her that it is just a story and introduce them again a little later.

You can read more on this story at:


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9078489/Fairytales-too-scary-for-modern-children-say-parents.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/8378975/Parents-who-shun-fairytales-miss-chance-to-teach-children-morality.html

http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15745/1/Influence-of-Fairy-Tales-on-Children.html

http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Why_Love_Fairy_Tales/

But the one which inspired this post and really sings the praises of fairy tales is:

http://imaginationsoup.net/2012/02/fairy-tales-are-essential-to-childhood/


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