Have you ever thought about the impacts of stories on children’s psychologies? For many years, parents and teachers have told stories and read books for children. Every word and every expression affect children in different ways. Children listen or read the books and they regard the pictures. They try to adapt stories with the real life. Unfortunately, the most important thing is not this association between stories and real life. The most significant thing is that all stories have an impact on children psychologies and subconscious minds. These impacts can affect their puberty, adulthood behaviours, personalities and the general future. So, these effects should be analysed carefully, and the selection of stories should be done cautiously. After these, a question appears. What ae the effects of these stories? Impacts are both positive and negative. Below, these effects are analysed in detail.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF STORIES ON CHILDREN PSYCHOLOGIES
According to some psychologists, stories and fairy tales have a significant psycho-educational impact in child development. Also, storytelling techniques and narrative have an effect on psychological processes which are related to imagination, memory and active socio-moral receptivity. Storytelling contributes to mental health and restoring mental health and its functions.
Not only these, but also stories and fairy tales have many impacts. Stories and fairy tales provide children with having sense of what it is to be human and help them understand the world around them. Children can improve their self-awareness and awareness of others. This awareness enables the development of emotional intelligence. This awareness also contributes the sense of identity. That’s why, children start to analyse the environment and shapes every detail in their mind according to what they know from stories, fairy tales and parents. In addition to these, stories help children to teach how to struggle with basic human conflicts, desires and relationships. These affect the children’s health, life quality, values and beliefs. Thus, the human morality can be provided by the help of stories and fairy tales. Also, their cultural sensitivity enhances by increasing the understanding of humans being.
In addition to these, in “The Positive Impacts of Fairy Tales for Children” written by Leilani VisikoKnox-Johnson, writer mentions about an Italian study. According to this study, children can cope with danger and death anxieties thanks to the use of tale-telling. She gives an example to support this study. In Three Little Pigs story, pigs represent children and the wolf represents sickness. The story and these representations affect children’s understanding and psychologies. These kinds of associations help children overcome their fears and explore their anxieties. In this text, there are many examples of story effects. It is undeniable fact that effects differ from child to child. For example, some children do not accept the end of the story and they draw some pictures about the story as an example of the end. However, some of them accept the end and they just draw their dreams which come in their minds while reading stories.
If the characters are regarded, it is deduced that main characters are powerful. That’s why, these powerful characters impact children and make them feel more powerful than they are. In the “The Child and the Fairy Tale: The Psychological Perspective of Children’s Literature” written by Violetta-Eirini Koutsompou, the positive effects and the power effects of the stories can be found. According to Koutsompou, this power helps children to overcome obstacles and conflicts. Finally, in Johnson’s text, she mentions about the power and sex differences in the stories. According to the text, sex differences are taught to children in early ages. After that, children put some information to these differences by the help of stories and tales.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF STORIES ON CHILDREN PSYCHOLOGIES
Stories can have positive effects. However, their negative effects cannot be denied. Stories affects the unconscious mind and it can reveal in the farther ages. The impacts can arise as a health disease or a psychological disease. The main reason of that is related to society also. The sociological perception shapes the stories and this perception guide the whole perception of humans. They believe that they should be like princes or princesses or they believe in that the life is like a story. Unfortunately, experiences and the difficulties of life teaches them that life is not like stories, it is similar for love also.
The most important effect is associated with psychology. In the stories, princes and princesses are shown perfect from the point of physical and personality. The general negative effect of the stories is anorexia nervosa. This disease is related to losing weight. A person who is mostly in adolescence period tries to lose weight and look like princesses that are in their dreams. This disease could result in death in some cases. In “Hermeneutic Interpretation of the Little Mermaid and Ponyo: Fairy Tales and Anorexia Nervosa” by Angie Nicole Branham, writer mentions two important story to support the anorexia nervosa case. In Little Mermaid and Cinderella, there are many messages about the ideal body. This fact is also supported by Walt Disney movies of these stories. Also, writer refers that the movies of these stories and tales have a huge negative effect on children.
In the stories, despite of goodness, children can encounter with bad things. For example, mothers die, father die, children are left alone by their parents and children can face terrible and murderous things. These influence the psychology of a child and this impact turns to a fear and an anxiety. In “The Impact of Fairy Tales” by Helga Benediktsdóttir, writer mentions that “This display of abandonment and loss is frightening to the child but is presented in such a way that the child still feels safe and protected because the setting is more often a magical place in a land far away and a long time ago.” (Benediktsdóttir , 5) So, stories are reflected as good worlds in order to decrease the effects of bad events. Anxiety and fear can be pressed but they can reflect in a different way farther ages.
Finally, In the stories, heroes and heroines are told as a children or teenager in the beginning of the story. At the end of the story, they become a young adult and they marry. That is the reflection of the maturity in the story. Between beginning and the end of the story, characters experience many cases and they grow up. However, the problem is mentioned by Benediktsdóttir. She tells the problem with a quotation which is that “These stories can serve as examples for another common trait of the fairy tale hero: the hero leaves home, “often because of a family conflict, at other times in order to fulfil a task, to bring about a disenchantment, or simply to ‘see the world.” (qtd. in Benediktsdóttir,7) In the stories, characters behave very bravely. However, it is not related to the real world. These facts in the stories affect children and shape their personality. To prevent the negative effect, parents can explain the stories to their children.
To conclude, stories have both negative and positive effects. Stories and tales help children to improve their personalities, imaginations, inner worlds, psychologies and creativities. Unfortunately, they can impact negatively and guide their personalities, imaginations, inner worlds, psychologies and creativities through the negative perspective. However, if the necessary preventions are taken, these negative impacts can be prevented. Stories and tales can be more safe worlds for children.
- Benediktsdóttir, Helga. The Impact of Fairy Tales. An Exploration of the Relationships of Parents and Children in Selected Fairy Tales. Diss.
- Branham, Angie Nicole. Hermeneutic interpretation of The Little Mermaid and Ponyo: Fairy tales and anorexia nervosa. Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015.
- VisikoKnox-Johnson, Leilani. “The Positive Impacts of Fairy Tales for Children.” University of Hawaii at Hilo Hohonu 14 (2016).
- Koutsompou, Violetta-Eirini. “The Child and the Fairy Tale: The Psychological Perspective of Children’s Literature”. International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics, Vol. 2, No. 4, December 2016