There was a great article in The Telegraph yesterday that stated ‘Traditional fairy-tales are being ditched by parents because they are too scary for their young children’.
According to a US study, Research revealed ‘one in five parents has scrapped old classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Rapunzel in favour of more modern books. One third of parents said their children have been left in tears after hearing the gruesome details of Little Red Riding Hood. And nearly half of mothers and fathers refuse to read Rumplestiltskin to their kids as the themes of the story are kidnapping and execution. Similarly, Goldilocks and the Three Bears was also a tale likely to be left on the book shelf as parents felt it condones stealing.‘
At first I thought this was amusing but then I remembered an incident a few months back with my Bear-Cub’s nursery. I got called aside one day when I went to pick him up and was told he’d been going round saying ‘I’m gonna kill you!’ I was of course, mortified and couldn’t think where he’d have heard the phrase to pick it up. The nursery staff suggested television but I pretty much only have Cbeebies on, as I don’t watch TV myself and was sure he didn’t here it there! I apologised profusely and left ashamed and puzzled. It was only when a few days later we were in the car listening to Bear-Cub’s ‘Bible stories for Toddlers’ CD that I heard him echo the words in the story of Joseph and his Technicolor coat, ‘I’m gonna kill you!’ I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry that my son had been taught an inappropriate phrase from ‘Bible stories’! Needless to say he didn’t ever say it again and I didn’t offer up my discovery to the nursery staff.
I must admit though reading the article, it did make me think that Hansel and Gretal probably would scare Bear-Cub as I remember being frightened of it myself and I guess Red Riding Hood is a little dark. So what is it? Were kids tougher in the past or did parents just not worry so much about the effects of stories on their children? It seems ironic and bizarre that there is so much in the media these days about the effects of violent computer games and films on children yet fairy tales are banned!! Go figure!
TOP TEN FAIRYTALES NO LONGER READ TO CHILDREN
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