Nursery Rhymes Not Child Friendly | Teen Ink

Nursery Rhymes Not Child Friendly

January 18, 2009
By ~Wolf-Woman~ PLATINUM, Carthage, Missouri
~Wolf-Woman~ PLATINUM, Carthage, Missouri
24 articles 10 photos 31 comments

Most every one has at least heard one nursery rhyme in their lifetime. Many children learn nursery rhymes from being tucked into bed at night and sung to them by their parents. I know that’s how I learned all the ones I know. We are taught them as children and they seem to stick with us for the rest of our lives.
When we recite them to a child, a younger sibling, or cousin we don’t really think about the lyrics or the meaning of the nursery rhyme. If you actually sit down and think about it not all nursery rhymes are child friendly. Some are filled with violence and other topics inappropriate for children.
The nursery rhyme “Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater” involves a man who had a wife, but could not keep her. The husband ended up kidnapping his wife and putting her in a pumpkin shell to keep her from running away. This rhyme is putting an impression upon children that women are insufficient to men. It’s practically saying that men are allowed to do whatever they want to their wives, even keep them hostage.

“Ring around the Rosies” is actually a chant that goes back to the 1600’s and is about the Plague of London which killed 70,000 of the 460,000 residents. “Ring around the rosies” is the rosy colored rash one would get. “Pocket full of posies” refers to the medicine and herbs people carried with them to prevent the plague and “We all fall down” refers to the collapse of one who died having the plague.
“Goosey, Goosey, Gander” is another nursery rhyme which has one man throwing another man, though older, down a flight of stairs. That has got to hurt. The younger man happened upon the older man while he was wandering around in his lady’s chamber. His reason for throwing the older guy down the stairs was because he would not say his prayers. I guess we can throw just anyone down a flight a stairs and for any reason we want. If I don’t like you, then I can throw you down the stairs. It might not be nice, but the nursery rhyme is backing me up.

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This article has 6 comments.

mplo said...
on Sep. 4 2015 at 3:48 pm
It's true that many of Grimm's Fairy Tales and many Mother Goose Rhymes are really not so guileless or innocent when one really stops to think about it. As a kid, the Grimm's Fairy Tails versions that I and other kids read were very watered-down versions, that took out much of the more intense aspects of them. Walt Disney versions of Snow White, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Peter Pan, for example, are also quite watered down, because they take out the real stories behind the above-mentioned titles. As an adult, I purchased paperback copies of both Grimm's Fairy Tales and Anderson's Fairy Tales at a local college and university Bookstore, which were the unabridged adult versions of these tales. As I read both these books and enjoyed them, I realized that neither Grimm's or Anderson's Fairy Tales were really that suitable for children. Having said all of the above, i'm prepared with the following response if someone should someday ask why I, as an adult, reads Grimm's or Anderson's Fairy Tales: "If Grimm's or Anderson's Fairy Tales are children's stories, then what on earth are they doing in a College or University Bookstore?"

pewpew7 BRONZE said...
on Feb. 13 2013 at 5:40 pm
pewpew7 BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
stop crying  

on Feb. 13 2013 at 10:27 am
IndigoElisabeth SILVER, Woodbury, New Jersey
5 articles 1 photo 171 comments

Favorite Quote:
John 1:1

There's a comedian named Tim Hawkins on YouTube. he did a thing about nursery rhymes. If you search Tim Hawkins nursery rhymes, it should come up.

on Oct. 18 2011 at 4:38 am
flyingpinkgiraffes, Chardon, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 103 comments

I wouldn't say that Peter KIDNAPPED her and put her in a pumpkin shell.  I just kinda pictured him being all nice and going "hey, since we don't have any food, why don't you live in this pumpkin shell?"  and then she was like "okay, then I'll have lots of food!"

lol.  :-)

on Dec. 14 2010 at 7:24 pm
Emily555 BRONZE, Virginia, Minnesota
1 article 0 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
Winners practice until they get it right. Champions practice until they can't get it wrong.

It's just when these nursery rhymes were made, they were perfectly acceptable.  It's just habit/tradition that people cite them today.

on Apr. 19 2010 at 11:24 am
Kaliseia_N BRONZE, Poughkeepsie, New York
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments
Same with Grimm's fairy tales (and many of the origional Disney stories...) Not only, for many of these nursery rhymes, is the literal meaning very disturbing- talk about some of the underlying symbolism.