Are fairy tales the right stories for your children? Here’s how it affects your sons and daughters


For children, fairy tales are a source of fascination, something mystical that opens up possibilities for them. It gives them hope, comforts them to sleep, and tells them that there is always ‘happiness forever’.

But in recent years, many have come to the fore suggesting that certain fairy tales like “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty” have a detrimental effect on a child’s developmental years. A few years ago, actress Kristen Bell expressed her discomfort with Disney’s most famous princess tales “Snow White.” According to her, the fairy tale sent false messages about consent and alien danger to her children.

Similarly, while many parents themselves have grown up with these stories and have enjoyed them, in the modern setting they feel that it could harm their children’s perception of themselves and the way they perceive others.

Impact of fairy tales on sons and daughters

A work of fiction is something that originates from a person’s imagination. But it is to a certain extent a reflection of the reality in which we live. While adults know to some extent where to draw the line, children are vulnerable and innocent and can take anything for how exactly it is presented.

Fairy tales, for example, are positive in many ways. It helps children build resilience, gives them hope and encourages them to dream and aspire. But on the other hand, it also limits the role of a son and daughter to socially constructed gender norms.

Traditional fairy tales like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Beauty and the Beast are all good, delightful stories to read. But come to think of it, why is Cinderella so dependent on a prince charming to escape her cruel stepmother and sister, why does Snow White or Sleeping Beauty need to be kissed by a prince? charming to be saved and did they really want to be? kissed? All of these questions may have irritated people at least once in their lives.

Likewise, these fairy tales also impose a certain role on boys. They are the ultimate protectors, the only saviors of the damsel in distress. If they don’t live up to society’s expectations, they put their honor at stake. But what if they don’t seek a fight? What if they need protection? Why are they not allowed to voice their concerns? Again, these are some of the questions that are wrong.


Are fairy tales inclusive?

When it comes to fairy tales or children’s literature in general, we need to emphasize inclusiveness and diversity. We need to ask ourselves to what extent and how accurately people from diverse backgrounds are represented in stories and narratives.

Many traditional fairy tales lacked this. While they managed to touch millions of hearts, they somehow failed to connect with people from diverse communities.

Representation is something that matters a lot. It is not necessary to water down the facts, but the elimination of one part of society completely compromises the development of all who are part of society.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian in 2015, a young American author Daniel José Older wrote: “Literature’s job is not to protect young people from the ugly world; it is to arm them with a language to describe difficult truths that they already know. .’

That said, aim to expose children to different genres of writing. Parents need to help children interpret and challenge the wrongs that have so long dominated our lives. We need to treat them as active recipients of what they read.

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