Is it just me or is there an obvious difference in the way themes were addressed long ago in children's stories? For example, I was horrified to read the original versions of classics like Sleeping Beauty where the consequence for disobedience may actually be death, and adults were obviously flawed works in progress.
Is it because we are no longer faced with the same challenges as families of old? When did we begin to find our children too fragile to handle the reality that bad things can happen without a fix, even when we are sorry?
I think valuable character development happens when fiction actually exposes reality, and we are forced to consider where we stand with what we are seeing. I've noticed that my kids need a lot less shielding than I imagined from serious themes involving suffering and death especially if justice prevails. They seem to be able to absorb the greater message despite the loss.