As much as the story of Cinderella is about hope and optimism, there is also a great lesson to be learned on coping with negative emotions. Kids can learn how to deal with negative emotions through Cinderella’s actions in the story. Consequently, they can also learn how not to deal with them, by thinking about how Cinderella could have reacted negatively but didn’t react so to her situations.
Cinderella experiences a lot of mistreatment at the hands of her stepsisters and stepmother. Although she is usually optimistic and cheery, she, like anyone else, experiences sadness as well. This is shown during the passage in the story where Cinderella must stay home from the ball while her stepsisters and stepmother attend, all because her stepmom won’t buy her a dress. Cinderella breaks down and cries. And this shows kids that as much as she deals with her emotions in a positive way in general, she still experiences sadness, and that it’s ok to show it.
When reading the story to your child or students, pause at this point and have them think about what Cinderella must be feeling at that point. After all her hard work, there is finally a chance to have fun at a ball to which all the townspeople are invited, yet Cinderella can’t because of her stepmother’s selfish actions. At this point she starts crying, and it’s easy to see why.
As you read the story to your child or students, point out that Cinderella is only human, and she does experience sadness over her situation at times. This shows kids that you don’t need to be perfect, and expressing emotions, even negative ones, can be ok.
In general Cinderella copes by being happy herself even if everyone around isn’t the same way. Yet, her emotions show through at points and that’s ok too. The main thing is that she didn’t deal with her emotions in the wrong way. Namely, she didn’t resort to her stepsisters’ mean ways. This is a good point at which kids should stop and think how not to deal with negative emotions. Cinderella could have easily been mean back to her stepsisters and/or refused to help them out anymore. She could have been bitter and miserable given her circumstances. However, she did not cope with her situation by showing these intense negative emotions or acting upon them. This is an excellent lesson for kids to learn.