Generation after generation, these rhymes are still published as reading materials and taught in schools (at least in some schools i know). What can kids pick up or absorb from them thru constant singing? Here are some nursery rhymes and songs that have negative connotations :

London Bridge london bridge is falling down falling down, falling down london bridge is falling down my fair lady...... .....silver and gold will be stolen away stolen away, stolen away, silver and gold will be stolen away my fair lady

Hush a bye baby Hush a bye baby, on the tree top when the wind blows the cradle will rock when the bow breaks, the cradle will fall and down will come baby, cradle and all

Fee-fi-fo-fum from Jack and the Beanstalk Fee, fi,fo fum i smell the blood of an englishman be he alive or be he dead i'll grind his bones to make my bread

asked 13 Nov '09, 00:17

Celine's gravatar image


edited 13 Nov '09, 02:41

Barry%20Allen's gravatar image

Barry Allen ♦♦

Thank you Barry!

(13 Nov '09, 02:52) Celine

You're welcome, Celine

(13 Nov '09, 07:22) Barry Allen ♦♦
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Back when the Simpson's were on the Tracy Ulmen Show I remember Maj singing to Maggie Rock-a-bye baby and there she was with these scary thoughts of a baby falling from the tree top while she was sucking on that binky thing.

It was a funny thing to see but yes from a therapist point of view maybe it could be really like that and none of us remember.

For example Ring around your rosy was a children's song about the black plague! Ring around the rosy, pocket full of posies, ashes ashes we all fall down.

Pocket of posies was believe to keep the plague away, the ring around the rosy was a rosy ring on your neck if I remember correct, the ashes were because of all the burnt bodies, falling down is dying.

Three blind mice, it's a happy children's song, lets all sing along! Three blind mice, three blind mice, see how they run, see how they run, ooooooooooh she cut off their tails with a butchers knife, she cut off their tails with a butchers knife, three blind mice..........

Then there is Fish Heads, Fish heads fish heads rolly polly fish heads, fish heads fish heads, eat them up yum.

That is kind of sick too but at least not violent like dying from the plague or being helplessly handicapped and and tortured for fun.


answered 13 Nov '09, 06:09

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 17 Jul '11, 19:12

Perhaps nursery rhymes were invented by children. Replaying traumatic events is a classic psychological coping mechanism for children; it happened for some time after Columbine.

(13 Nov '09, 20:30) Vesuvius

You know that makes a lot of sense! That would mean for three blind mice some children actually did one time see some sick twisted person cut off their tails. Plus Ring around the rosy one yes I agree with you it does make a lot of sense because otherwise it just seems like some twisted person made these up to pass on to children for no reason.

(13 Nov '09, 22:47) Wade Casaldi

Those rhymes are Don't you think they could cause nightmares in kids?

(14 Nov '09, 00:02) Celine

Never did for me. I heard them all as a child. (And I would never chop off a mouse's tail.)

(14 Nov '09, 06:39) John

I don't remember a lot of them, it does lead you to think someone like Vincent Prince wrote them or earlier Edger Allen Poe. lol

I just remembered a real sick one from some movie, I never heard it as a kid but it went like this. "Great big gobs of gooey grimy gophers guts, mutilated monkey meat, gooey grimy gophers guts and me without a spoon!" That one I think was made up to agitate parents maybe little sisters???

(18 Nov '09, 07:45) Wade Casaldi
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Do you think they had a negative effect on your mind?

I can remember seeing Snow White as an adult, and thinking "Wow this is pretty scary stuff." But I really didn't think much of it as a kid.

And the nursery rhymes are far more benign. Kids focus on the tune, not the words, and the tunes are very benign, almost calming.


answered 13 Nov '09, 02:30

Vesuvius's gravatar image


As a kid, i used to ask myself why a mother would leave a baby at the top of a tree and let them fall. Did it have a negative effect on my way of thinking? I don't really know. All i understand at that time is that, a mom who does that is cruel. A friend of mine (a teacher) told me that i should be carefull in choosing the songs and rhymes that i teach my kid cause not all of them have good lyrics and will will have a psychological effect on a child's mind.

(13 Nov '09, 02:47) Celine

I don't remember having any fears related to falling from a tree top even though my mother sang the song to me.

(14 Nov '09, 06:36) John

This just came to me, all these people that have fear of heights this could be it! Wow programed since a baby that if you go too high you will fall! Amazing breakthrough!

(17 Jul '11, 18:33) Wade Casaldi

@Wade: Fear of heights is built into your genes; it's a survival mechanism.

(17 Jul '11, 22:10) Vesuvius

Whoa crashed and burned by the facts, it was an interesting theory but apparently quite old as now it is outdated by the real cause. Thanks Vesuvius.

(18 Jul '11, 01:54) Wade Casaldi
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No, I don't think these nursery rhymes has an negative effect on children. It didn't on me and I remember a few and as I remember them it just makes me laugh that I can still say them. Children don't know the real meaning or hidden meaning of the nursey rhymes and children don't put deep thought into what the rhymes means are trying to say you just say them and laugh about it. To be honest children pay more attention to what we do for their little eyes are always watching they may not understand but when they get old enough than they will remember. I think the rhymes are ok but hey lets create new ones to replace the old ones or add to them than the children have fun saying the new ones. Explanations of the meaning of your rhymes:

The Wooden Bridge The 'London Bridge is falling down' Nursery Rhyme is based on the one of the most famous landmarks in London. It's history can be traced to the Roman occupation of England in the first century. The first London Bridge was made of wood and clay and was fortified or re-built with the various materials mentioned in the children's nursery rhyme. Many disasters struck the bridges - Viking invaders destroyed the bridge in the 1000's which led to a fortified design, complete with a drawbridge. Building materials changed due to the many fires that broke out on the bridge.

The Stone Bridge The first stone bridge was designed by Peter de Colechurch and built in 1176 and took 33 years to build and featured twenty arches the dimensions of which were sixty feet high and thirty feet wide and was complete with tower and gates. The flow of the Thames under the bridge was used to turn water wheels below the arches for grinding grain. By the 1300's the bridge contained 140 shops, some of which were more than three stories high. ( The reference to Silver and Gold in the rhyme relates to the trading which was conducted on the bridge). London Bridge survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 but its arches and foundations were weakened.

The words and origin of the "Hush a bye baby" rhyme are said to have originated from America. It was the practice of some Native Americans to place a baby in the branches of a tree allowing the wind to gently rock the child to sleep "Hush a bye baby on the treetop". The meaning to the words of the song "Hush a bye baby" seem to match this explanation. The words to the "Hush a bye baby" song have the intention of making a child sleep it can therefore be correctly described as both a nursery rhyme and a lullaby! The words to the "Hush a bye baby" song were first published in 1765.

A nursery rhyme was often used to parody the royal and political events and people of the day. The humble Rhyme was used as a seemingly innocent vehicle to quickly spread subversive messages!

The Rhyme allowed an element of free speech! A rhyme associates words with similar sounds using a rhyming couplet or short verse. A rhyme is often short and easy to remember and this was a critical element when many people were unable to read or write and a rhyme was verbally passed from generation to generation - it was also a vital element when commoners wanted to comment on the events of the day! It must be remembered that direct criticism or dissent would often have been punishable by death!

The Rhyme that led to Revolution!

The wording of an individual rhyme can often be associated with historical events and the plausible explanations given to many a rhyme can be seen as political satire. The first really important English rhyme dates back to the fourteenth century! This little rhyme was passed quickly from one person to another, was easily remembered and led to an English revolution - a call for recognition and class equality!

When Adam delved and Eve span Who was then a gentleman

( To delve means to work and 'span' refers to spinning yarn there was no class distinction when there was only Adam and Eve )

That was so smart of them to put hidden meaning in the rhymes so they were not be shot or killed for making fun or telling the story of the monarch.


answered 13 Nov '09, 06:17

flowingwater's gravatar image


edited 13 Nov '09, 06:24

the question is moot, considering the selection- many of these nurse rhymes are almost forgotten by todays children- w/ the advent of childrens programming, especially sesame st., these haunting ditties are all but forgotten. they did serve a vital purpose, in that, they introduced a sense of the grim reality of life. parents do no service to their children by painting life as a procession of lollipops and cotton candy. their idea of protection only leaves their offspring naive and vulerable


answered 16 Nov '09, 04:17

eleanor%20sawitsky's gravatar image

eleanor sawitsky

I didn't sing those kinds of songs because those aren't good words to be putting into any mind, especially a baby/young child. I sang happy, positive songs and even made up my own words to known tunes. It all counts.


answered 17 Jul '11, 16:11

Fairy%20Princess's gravatar image

Fairy Princess

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