Skip directly to content

Fairy tales and children - good versus bad

on Mon, 08/08/2011 - 16:28

"Grandmother, what  a big mouth you have?The better to eat you with.." - Little Red Riding Hood.

We want to guide our children in becoming independent beings. Able to live confident about themselves outside the safe walls of home or school. A way of supporting our children in the going outside is to talk with them about the good and the bad.

Sometimes it's said that fairy tales are images of life, reflections of the world around us. Simply look at the news and you see the centuries old struggle between good and evil. Life shows us good and beautiful and on the other hand, like in fairy tales the bad and ugly. In stories the good is described as the winner, while the bad is something wrong.

The reading of fairy tales is a valuable tool to get acquainted with the biggest opposition we know, for understanding what good or bad means. And it is great qualitytime to read a story in family together.

You can stop here as a parent or teacher.
You’ve told a story, in which there is good and bad.The bad seems stronger, but the good is smarter, and wins from evil. Always.

Or you can continue.
Some experts say that fairy tales (or any other kind of story) gives a child the possibility to recognize itselve in one of the characters of the story. It can choose the good or bad caracter as an inspiration source to solve it’s own questions about life. But I'm not a psychologist and as a human being I don’t like to enter in choices of others. This brings me to the next.

I think that the separation between good an bad in traditional fairy tales is not up to date anymore. Why not tell stories in which the good and bad live in harmony in one person!

Stories become neutral when we show our child that good and bad is in everyone. Children then can see the story - and later on the world outside- as a place where good and bad are combined in every person. A world where we all dance together without the desire to rule, to have more power.This will give space for calmness, for breathing, for a safe space to be truely yourself.

When a child is behaving like itself, there is the possibility that sometimes it is the hunter, the other time the big brown bear, and maybe someday the bear inside of the child will be best friends with it’s inner hunter.

I have this image of bears and hunters holding eachother’s hands and living together. A beautiful picture that makes a child a winner in life. ALWAYS!

.... And so they will life happily ever after .....:)


> Wat zijn sprookjes door Yellow Flower

> Ellie Levenson in The indipendent: Fairy tales prepare children for reality

> Harry Potter and the deathly Hallows by JK Rowling.


Hello! I really enjoyed reading your post. Indeed, I never took the time to stop and think about the purpose of fairy tales. To me, it was just there, like an old figurine that has been on the shelf for a while and that you don't really look at it and really see it :) The idea of teaching our child that there is bad and good in everyone is bringing grey in the dichotomy and therefore much more closer to the reality of our lives and who we are as humans.

will make more easy then thethought that something always needs to be good and that bad must be cancelled. I beleive it's best just to accept that what is and if you don't like it, change it!

Love to you,


Post new comment