17 Fairy Tales People Now Think Are Inappropriate for Kids

Disney has popularized many classic fairy tales and given them a lasting place in many Americans’ hearts. Unfortunately, a surprising number of these stories have dark origins and themes that some find offensive, destructive, or harmful to children. Keep reading to discover 17 fairy tales people now think are inappropriate for kids.

Little Red Riding Hood

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On the surface, Little Red Riding Hood is an exciting story about a little girl who overcomes the odds to defeat a wily wolf. However, the original story has a much darker ending that many people believe is unsuitable for children. According to Britannica, this story concludes with the wolf successfully tricking and eating Red Riding Hood.

The Little Mermaid

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While most of us may know and love Disney’s portrayal of The Little Mermaid, older versions of the story see Ariel meeting a tragic fate that children would find upsetting. Some people also argue that the message about changing yourself to appeal to a loved one is problematic.  


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Cinderella is a classic fairy tale with a typical “fairy tale ending.” Although some people see nothing wrong with this old story, others believe it overly emphasizes the importance of women’s physical beauty, passive femininity, and role as wives above all else. In some versions of Cinderella, the stepsisters also participate in violent acts that most modern audiences would see as inappropriate for children.

Hansel and Gretel

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Many people see the witch’s gruesome death in an oven as too violent for younger audiences. The themes of child abandonment, starvation, and the witch’s desire to consume the children are also considered to be too dark and inappropriate for kids.

Snow White

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While Snow White may initially seem like a fairly harmless tale, its preoccupation with women’s physical beauty and domesticity is seen as outdated and sexist by many critics. It’s also a little strange and alarming that the prince falls in love with a girl who appears to be dead, raising moral concerns and questions about consent.

Sleeping Beauty

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Sleeping Beauty is another story that some parents think sends a destructive message about consent, as the prince kisses the protagonist while she’s sleeping. Moreover, it reinforces the narrative that women need to wait around to be “saved” by a heroic male figure without exercising any autonomy.


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In some older versions of Rumpelstiltskin, the story comes to a violent end when the titular character tears himself in two. As you’d imagine, many parents deem this iteration too gruesome to share with their kids. However, some people also take issue with the themes of manipulation and deceit present throughout the modern story.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

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The Pied Piper of Hamelin becomes rather unsettling when you consider the idea that the children are being led away from their families forever. In the tale, the children are punished in this way for the town’s broken promise, which some people see as a troubling idea to share with kids.


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Most people agree that Bluebeard is an unsuitable story to share with young children due to its disturbing themes of marital betrayal and the discovery of ex-wives’ bodies in a secret room. Furthermore, as noted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the overarching message about curiosity leading to violent consequences could be seen as victim blaming.

The Robber Bridegroom

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The Robber Bridegroom is yet another violent fairy tale that involves themes of betrayal, deceit, and cannibalism. In the original Brothers Grimm version, the robbers kill a girl and intend to eat her. Naturally, many parents find these topics too dark and disturbing to expose their children to.

Puss in Boots

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While the DreamWorks adaptation of Puss in Boots is harmless and child-friendly enough, the original version ends more violently. The ogre featured in the story is tricked into transforming into a mouse and is then caught and eaten by Puss in Boots.

The Red Shoes

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The Red Shoes is a grisly story in which a woman’s supposed vanity is punished by red shoes, which force her to dance uncontrollably and cannot be removed. In the original tale, the woman resorts to having her feet cut off by an executioner. This act is commonly considered too gruesome for young children to read.  

The Frog Prince

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According to Interesting Literature, in the original version of The Frog Prince, the princess is forced to spend three nights letting the frog eat from her plate and sleep on her pillow. The frog then transforms into a handsome prince and marries the princess. This raises concerns about consent and autonomy that some parents find too questionable to share with their kids.

The Juniper Tree

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The Juniper Tree tells the tale of a wicked stepmother who kills her son before feeding him to his father. The prevailing themes of cannibalism and violent revenge are usually deemed too disturbing and inappropriate for child audiences. Moreover, the topic of intense jealousy and dysfunctional family dynamics may be considered too mature for kids.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

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While some parents see no issue with the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, others find the themes of privacy invasion, consent, and disrespect to be unsuitable for children. In many iterations of the story, Goldilocks is never punished for her disrespectful actions, which may send a questionable message to young readers.

The Goose Girl

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According to The University of Colorado Boulder, The Goose Girl is a rather gruesome tale in which a maid’s deceitful pursuit of status ends in her violent punishment and demise. Many people see the violent imagery invoked by the ending as inappropriate for young children.


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Rapunzel is a popular fairy tale that has only increased in popularity with Disney’s latest adaptation of the story. However, some people believe the dark themes of female confinement, isolation, consent, and the idea of women needing to be rescued by a man make the story inappropriate for young kids.

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