Fairytales: More than Just a Figment of Our Imagination? When we think about fairytales in the present day, we most likely associate the term with a childish denotation of meaningless stories that lack substance. For example, we know that the Tooth Fairy does not magically visit our room and place money under our pillow for every tooth we lose. Regardless of the beliefs that have been correlated with fairy stories, there has been a significant amount of research supporting the benefits of reading them to children. When we think of these tales, we think about the characters we admire and the villains who want to hurt our protagonists. We remember the dilemmas and the obstacles the characters go through to reach a happy ending. Does that mean that we are feeding our children false stories, or is there more to it? Are we creating false hope for our children? Some may wonder if child stories are always appropriate for “read aloud” time if they always result in happy endings. Is that the truth? Are we setting the standards high for future fairytales that children will hear? It is to no one’s surprise that child stories have been known to delude children from reality causing them to assume that everything will work out for them one way or another. So why would I continue to lie to my children? First of all, the idea of having a story time before a child’s bedtime creates a new type of relationship and tradition between a child and a parent. It means that the parent is doing this for not only the child’s enjoyment and anticipation as he looks forward to a new story, but there is a type of indirect discipline that goes into it; the tradition can only continue if the child is tucked into bed, and the child can only be tucked into bed if he has brushed his teeth, which can only happen after dinner, which can happen after homework is finished, and the list goes on. The real benefits from the fairy stories are showing children how to handle these problems; it is actually an eye-opener for adults to read these because we can relate to the characters in ways that we probably could not when we were younger. The scenarios build a type of emotional boundary that makes readers aware that these tales are not filled with only happy people and happy events; Ariel from The Little Mermaid had Ursula just as Dorothy from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had the Wicked Witch of the West. These difficulties create awareness for children to realize that everyone in this world needs to overcome some type of obstacle before reaching the happy ending that they strive. Fairytales introduce essential traits such as politeness and good friendship, as well as situations where moral guidance is encouraged in cases where the “villains” are introduced. These stories work up their imagination as they begin to predict—or stand corrected in astonishment—with every turn in every story. With these turns of events, fairy stories can provide a good moral of the story. Children can learn from the story being The Little Mermaid and decide (with the guidance of an adult) if it is the right decision to leave your own homeland for a gentleman, or Tarzan, where Jane willingly left her civilization to be with the man of her dreams in the forest. Regardless, child stories are a part of children’s lives for the betterment of their learning environment. They help children develop moral and ethical skills, helping parents create a connection with their child as they share their beliefs on what is considered “wrong” and “right”. Fairytales create a good relationship and generally a good developmental stage for their lives as they transition into school and being with peers. Fairy stories are more than just an imagination—they have shaped the lives of adults, and it is nothing but beneficial for children to continue this route. We may not want to believe it, but child stories stay with us forever! So, it is your responsibility as a parent to encourage your child to read and learn rather than watching kid’s movies where there’s nothing much to learn.
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