Why I chose not to tell fairy tales to my child
Created by Aparna Bhat Updated on Jul 29, 2016
Story time is the best time of the day, both for a parent as well as the child. It lets you bond with them, as you take them to a different world. And it wakes up the child inside you. When they are in that world, you not only entertain them but also educate them. It's a time where you can teach moral values to the children in a fun way. It increases their power to imagine and create.
For all the above reasons and more, I made a point that however tiring the day is, my child deserved a story. And being an unorthodox parent, I included stories of all kinds and cultures—Hindu Mythology, Greek mythology, fairy tales were among my favourite.
But one day, I saw Miss A getting physically abusive with her cousin of almost the same age. I was taken aback as she was not someone who became aggressive for toys or other stuff. I calmed her down and distracted her. She came back to being her normal self. But the pattern was repetitive, even at home if someone refused her something then she would pick up something and hit the other person.
I decided to find the root of this behaviour. So during our baby and mommy time, I asked the reason for her behaviour.
“A, why did you hit akka(our help) today? Isn't hitting someone wrong?”
“Amma, akka had my pencil. And I told her that it's mine. But she said that she will not give it.”
“Why do you think akka said so?”
“Because, the pencil's tip was sharp”
“And I might hurt myself.”
“So, if you understand that why did you hurt her?”
“Coz she had something that was mine! And that's how you get your things back, mommy! By a fight with a weapon! That's what warriors do!”
I was taken aback! It wasn't her fault. It was mine. In order to teach her different cultures I taught her violence. I taught her that you have to fight to get what is yours. Be it a king for his kingdom, or a prince for his princess. Even though I consciously avoided the death part by telling that the bad people realized their mistake and became good, I did sow a seed of violence in her. What had I done?
Now it was my duty to take off that weed. I had to rewrite her beautiful mind by narrating her stories where it is okay to let things go, where you can get what you want with love and patience. And yes the process is still on. But now she has realised that 'No’ has a reason behind it. It's ok to let go. And you can be happy by playing with something else than fighting over things. And when you give something to someone, you will get lot of love in return which is above all.
Considering these thoughts, the parentune team, has come with a list of the books that you can read to your children:
1)Books by author Ruskin Bond: These books talk about commonplace people and small adventures that happen in their lives…simple, endearing, with perfect expressions.
2)Panchtantra tales: Not all tales are about violence in these—there are some which talk about bravery, not trusting strangers, using your brains to get out of tricky situations etc.
3)Bernie Bernstein: Stories of this young bear family are focused on how eating too much junk food caused baby bear to become fat, why children should not lie, and how children can know a stranger from a friend. Great picks for young children.
4)Pratham books: A publishing house that publishes books primarily by Indian authors, ensures the books are in an Indian context, familiar for the child, devoid of damsels in distress and talk of simple day-t-day situations such as Avani and the Pea Plant, Grandma’s Glasses.
5)Other titles such as Three Little Pigs, Billy Goats Gruff, Goldilocks and Three Bears, Puss in Boots…books that do not paint an image of an evil stepmother, or a princess caught in a situation unable to come out on her own, or over emphasis on beauty and hair and skin.
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