The Importance of Fairy Tales and Folk Stories in Fostering An Emotionally Healthy Child
A subject of interest for me is the role of fairytales and folk stories in bringing out and nourishing children’s spirituality.
There are many reasons why I think fairy tales are good for kids development. This article outlines just a few. Fairy Tales do the following:
- Teach right from wrong
- Help children deal with emotions
- Foster imagination
- Develop cultural literacy introducing them to different cultures
- Develop critical thinking skills
- They are fun!
Parents have a great opportunity when their kids are young to help them learn about people, the world, and themselves. Fairy tales provide kids the chance to put themselves in the shoes of the characters, which allow children and begin to develop essential decision-making skills. These are skills that will help children throughout their lives.
The Role Of Myths And Fairy Tales
Myths and fairy tales give children the opportunity to figured out how to apply the meaning of the stories in their own lives. The answers that are offered by fairytales are suggestive, not definite (Bruno Bettelheim). Which allows room for interpretation and questioning.
Sometimes children accept and internalize lessons more easily from fairy tales than from their parents. Fairy tales speak a language that is familiar and makes sense to children. Children tend to think animistically, everything has a soul, and both inanimate and the animate object freely interact. Since there is no clear distinction between the two worlds, kids may believe that death can be reversed, and things and people can come back to life. Fairytales and folkloric tales answers children’s fundamental questions such as: who am I, where do I come from, where am I going, and what is life all about?
From the adult’s point of view, the explanations given by the fairy tales are not realistic and in a rushed analysis, could be presented as ‘false,’ to a child’s mind that lacks certain abstract thinking. These realistic explanations are difficult to comprehend. Parents can serve as guides through the fairy tale world, helping their children to understand the underlying concepts in terms they can understand.
The story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a great fairy tale that has many lessons. Among the lessons are the following:
- Be cautious with strangers
- It’s great to have friends
- Never give up hope
- Bad deeds rarely go unpunished
- Watch what you eat
- Insecurities do not justify a mean attitude
- Real beauty comes from within
Fairy tales are a great way to spend quality time with your kids, and help them learn about life. It is important that kids be exposed to fairy tales at the right stage of their development. Fairy tales are ideal bedtime stories, especially for 3 to 10-year-olds. Here are some websites that I like for book suggestions of various ages:
To learn more about Psychiatry for Children, contact Daniela White, M.D. Psychiatrist for Children Houston at 713-426-3100.