Another discussion concerning kids and fairy tales. First of all, this article is much better researched and even-handed and you'll probably find yourself agreeing with most if not all of it. I did. Click through to read it all, but I will blockquote a portion of it.
From: Are Fairy Tales Out of Fashion?: I hate reading them to my young daughter—the classic versions are too violent, the Disney stories have bad values. By Libby Copeland at Slate.com:
There’s a tendency to jump to the conclusion that because modern parents are squeamish about violence in fiction we must be wussy and overprotective. But is it also wussy that we don’t spank anymore, or tell our children that they’re wicked? We don’t look at violence in the same way as we used to; it is not a threat for bad behavior, nor is it God’s punishment for sin. I’m sometimes troubled by reading even the most modernized versions of fairy tales to my daughter, who is 2½. It’s not that Walt Disney didn’t do his best to excise the violence from these creaky folk tales; fairy tale scholar Jack David Zipes has called him “that twentieth-century sanitation man.” But the lessons these cleansed tales impart are not ones I wish to teach, even if they are canonical to Western culture. Little Red Riding Hood is to blame merely for being curious and veering off her path to pick flowers. Beauty leads to happily-ever-afters. We have a Cinderella book, a gift from a friend, and when I read it to my daughter, I try to soften the wickedness of the evil stepsisters and stepmother. I omit the worst things they say— “a simple washer girl like you is no fit for royal company!”—and I make it so Cinderella doesn’t cry. Still, there’s no way around the basic premise that passivity and tears are rewarded. (I’m convinced Cinderella syndrome is why not enough of us ask for raises; we’re waiting for our bosses to notice how great we are. And I’m not the only one who believes Disney princesses aren’t the best role models for little girls.)
If altering fairy tales seems like politically correct white-washing, I would counter that it is the tradition of these folk tales to be changed by the era they’re in. We’re the fools if we treat them like gospel. As Zipes points out, Frenchman Charles Perrault altered the tale of Cinderella when he recorded it in the 1600s, making the protagonist submissive and industrious. In earlier oral versions, which “emanated from a matriarchal tradition,” Cinderella is more the mistress of her own fate. One Italian version has her killing her stepmother.