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Kalinkina's picture

I really agree with the idea

I really agree with the idea that children should be exposed to knowledge of the bad things in life and not led to think that everything in life is peaches and cream. I believe that is a far greater disservice and potentially even dangerous.

In general the piece gives a lot of important to fairy tales… nearly the first entire page and a half discusses how fairy tales are the best and only way to educate a child and promote decent development through storytelling. Bettelheim goes into so much detail about every little aspect of fairy tales and how each element affects a child's development. Frankly, while his argument is quite interesting, I don't agree with the idea that fairy tales play such an important role in promoting positive growth. I never heard fairy tales until I was a young adult, and I think I turned out quite okay. So much of what I learned about how to behave in life and what is good and moral and what is bad and immoral behavior came not from stories I read or learned about, but rather from relationships and actual lived experiences. Relationships with my parents, my brother, my friends, my teachers, acquaintances, even strangers all spurred my personal growth.

Bettelheim goes on to say on page 4, column 2, "The child is subject to desperate feelings of loneliness and isolation, and often experiences mortal anxiety. More often than not, he is unable to express these feelings in words, or can do so only by indirection: by claiming fear of the dark or of some animal, for instance." I just flat out don't agree with this idea. I think children do have valid and genuine fears of things aren't familiar with and are known to cause possible harm. I think passing those fears off as something much more obscure and below the surface is really not unfair, but entirely devalues anything in that child's mind. I think many adults don't give the credit they deserve; they think that because a human being is six years old, that he or she cannot possibly have any rational thought in his or her head and that nothing important dwells within the mind, that fantasies about acquiring candy and candy alone are what exist. I think that's really unfortunate and really demeaning, honestly. A child is a child, obviously it is learning about the world and developing, but saying that natural instinct in a child based on "desperate feelings of loneliness and isolation…" is unfair to children. It feels like a slap in the face, even to me.


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