Hofstra University Honors College's Blog

Why do we lie to children? I completely understand telling children stories in the Santa Clause category (fun characters to explain why they celebrate stolen holidays). I’m not talking about that. What I’m talking about is telling children watered down versions of some of the best fairy tales ever told. If you’re going to tell your children stories, tell them the right version!

Ok, I guess saying the “right” version isn’t the right way to put it. What I mean is tell them a story closer to the original. Brothers Grimm would be my suggestion (pause for geek-out moment).

I am in no way saying that kids should stop watching Disney movies. The forty Disney movies currently in my dorm room is evidence of that. What I’m saying is that if kids are studying fairy tales in school they should read the original versions of the stories, not a watered down censored version. You’d be surprised just how much children can handle. I can remember stories and movies from my childhood that were very dark but I survived them unscarred (in theory) because of one thing: the happy ending. Yes the Grimm versions of these stories are darker, but they have the same ending. Evil loses; good wins. Children don’t focus on the dark, twisted, bloody parts; they see it as an adventure that leads to a happy ending.

When Neil Gaiman wrote Coraline, his publisher said that he couldn’t print it because it would terrify children and they would hate it. Gaiman told him to have his kids read the book and then call him back. The publisher’s kids loved the book. They saw it as an adventure wherein good triumphed over evil. Hence my argument: if you’re going to have children read fairy tales, give them the courtesy of reading them the original version. Trust me, they can handle it.

Plus, Brothers Grimm stories are just amazing! Now please, go read.


Comments on: "They Can Handle the Truth" (2)

  1. Andrea Elizabeth said:

    I’ve heard that Coraline was scarier for parents than it was for kids, because kids saw it as an adventure but parents saw their worst nightmares — their kids going missing, and possibly not coming back alive.

    I feel like we water down stories for kids because they know no fear, and we want to shield them from it as long as we can. I don’t want my little sister to ever be afraid – I don’t tell her stories that will scare her. I’m not that much older than she is, and I fear so much, she shouldn’t have to worry about it. I’ll let her read the Grimm versions when she’s older.

    • cdreamer said:

      I was in high school when I saw Coraline and it freaked me out but I know plenty of kids who loved it.

      I can see your point and I can understand wanting to protect children, but I don’t agree that children don’t know fear. I can remember being afraid a lot when I was a little kid and not a big fan of scary movies. Monster movies, however, I loved! Honestly, I think if the kid can handle it thenthey should be allowed to enjoy it. If they can’t, they’ll tell you. I remember my younger cousin (she’s 10) saw Deathly Hollows part 1 and thought the best part was when they were getting attacked by the snake. To her I’d recomend some Grimm fairytales.
      Also, wouldn’t you agree that by introducing kids to scary things help them learn how to conquer their fears earlier? Seeing others overcome great evil/badness show them that they can do it too?

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