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Episode 1

(The current podcast is in English. Norwegian and Arabic will be added soon)

Written By Rose

Voodoolily Podcast One,

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Hello, and welcome back to voodoolily podcast with me (Simon) and Rose.

we look at our journey from stories to storytelling and explaining more about the child Moral development.

This week we going to explore the impact of stories on human behavior. Then later, we will look at the Kohlberg’s moral development theory by Rose, the voodoolily editor in chief.

Many parents may not be heard of stories unique effect on our imagination and behavior; stories tell us how to behave, how to live even how to feel, they shape us and gives us meaning. Self-development through the stories is a lifespan process. beginning in early childhood and extending to old age, lie down in a larger cultural environment holds expectations of what makes a healthy narrative and a healthy self.

Scholars state that stories have a strong influence on children’s understanding of values, beliefs, attitudes and social norms which, in turn, shape children’s perceptions of reality. As humans, our worlds are stories; and stories develop our selves.

Stories have a unique effect on our imagination. It fascinates us. The one who creates the story tries to fascinate her/his reader in the way that they believe what s/he thinks and believes.

So, we understand, literature does affect our beliefs and gives us code and concepts, but Rose, tell us, why children need to create their own stories?


The early years, children start to share their daily experiences through telling stories. They tell it, sometimes loudly, to understand themselves and to express their experiences to others. Through storytelling children create “a personal voice, for themselves and also they build a way of communicating their unique experience and view of the world”. When children participate in storytelling, they are gaining an understanding of themselves.  In the context of activities such as storytelling, children develop a sense of self which changes and expands as children’s life experiences become more varied.


But Rose, the question is, should we encourage our children to create their own stories? even if I don’t think my child want to become a writer (LOL)


Simon, I need to explain a bit about a perspective within psychology concerned with the “storied nature of human behavior” called Narrative psychology. By Narrative psychology we understand, how human build stories to deal with own experiences and listening to other stories. Children are not the exception; they bring continually (but might not all) aspects of themselves to the creation of own stories. Our children’s stories tell us their beliefs, also about the self and help us to know how they think of themselves. In fact, children give us a great chance to discover their world through their stories. By that, we can be a part of, and interact with their world by our creative stories.


I bring the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” which is children’s short story, to confirm the case.

We all remember the poem: LOL

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen

Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen

But do you recall

The most famous reindeer of all?

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Had a very shiny nose

And if you ever saw it

You would even say it glows

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is a 20th-century reindeer created by Robert Lewis May. The reindeer was chosen as the lead reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, due to his differences, which was his glowing red nose. But before this choice, he usually received ridicule for it by his friends, however, because of the lighting, he chose for the team’s path through harsh winter weather.

Vivian Maria Vasquez, who is a Professor of Education at American University, shows that young children rebuilt narratives and mixes reality in it to become part of the story. In one of her study care, a Four-year-old girl, Hannah, mixes the reality of her own life with the story in her drawings of Rudolph the reindeer. Hannah draws a boy in the middle with a red X situated just above him. X in her images means not allowed. Later, Vivian Vasquez through her talking about the image, distinguished Hannah had experienced bullying by the boys in the class and Hannah’s picture conveyed her wish not to have the boys tease Rudolph, and more importantly, her. So, Hannah was trying to say, boy are not allowed to bullying me, all by her drawing and the story behind it.

Hannah identifies with a bullied Rudolph


Yes, Simon, you see that stories made by children show everything they do, from how they think, regulate their conduct, and even define their personalities.


Giving children meaning for life is essential, it is much important than chasing happiness. Experts explain chasing happiness make human unhappy. There is more to life than being happy. That is having meaning in life. Happiness is an accumulation of multiple emotional reactions across time. Meaning, though, is deeper. Martin E. P. Seligman, an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books, believes “human use his/her highest strengths and talents to feel belong to and serve something they believe which is larger than the self.” Storytelling gives meaning to life’s experiences. Children tell stories to understand their world, construct a sense of self, and participate in their culture. On the other hand, stories have the ability to give us meaning and concepts too.


Rose, let us discuss the misuse of making propaganda and giving meaning by stories using specific targeting concepts.


Before explaining this, let me talk a bit more about meaning in life,

Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters. She drew the important distinction between meaning and happiness and suggested us “four pillars of meaning to life”.

belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence.

She states that meaning in life is not about finding happiness.

Belonging. One pillar of meaning is the feeling of being connected to others. Treating one another like we matter, and valuing one another.

Purpose. Another pillar is having a sense of purpose for one’s life, it does not necessarily have a big contribution but can be simply gaining respect in or helping your family.

Storytelling. Human tells stories about key experiences in our lives to create a deeper understanding of our identities and whereby to enhance meaning.

Transcendence. The last pillar is experienced into a mental state of complete focus and occupation usually in nature, religion, and in other ways.

And, when giving meaning to life, goes through the religion, there might be some radical groups who definitely know how to use it and apply it.

Kathy G. Short, The University of Arizona, define the story as meaning-making, and Louise Rosenblatt, specify it as World-Making argue that literature gives people an understandable way of infinite life opportunities and meaning to choice. Therefore, the way to get meaning is through stories.

Nevertheless, there are some radical groups know the role of the story to chasing the aims, giving children their radical worldview. Thus, before letting radicalized people giving our children meaning, it is good we as a parent do it. Meaning and Concepts in stories have the ability to change children’s perspectives, above all, influence how children choose to act in the world. It’s been a long time to investigate the procedure of “taking action” through literature in case of creating change in the world to building bridges across global cultures.


Rose, to what extent do you believe the Jihadist group use fiction as a propaganda technic to gain their target.


Oh Simon, let me take evidence form the science.

Katherine Elder, University of Southern California, USA; She is an Assistant Professor in Communication studies, recently published a very worthwhile journal article, titled:

Propaganda for Kids: Comparing IS-Produced Propaganda to Depictions of Propaganda in The Hunger Games and Harry Potter Film.

The Hunger Games is a trilogy of young adult novels were written by American novelist Suzanne Collins. And, Harry Potter is a series of novels written by British Author J. K. Rowling. The novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends who are students at a School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And you all know about IS, that is; the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, officially known as the Islamic State (IS) and also known by its Arabic language acronym Daesh is a Salafi jihadist militant group.

The article discusses the extent to which propaganda depicted in Harry Potter and Hunger Games produced by IS in recent years. All three’s themes were based on disseminating horrors in their world’s geopolitical climate. Katherine Elder distinguished some similarities which may impact the degree to which viewers of the film series—particularly younger viewers—are able to turn a critical eye to Islamic state they encounter in their own lives. Meanwhile, Harry Potter films, largely produced in written form, propaganda in The Hunger Games makes use of contemporary mediums and techniques that resemble that which originates from IS.

It is worthwhile to explore whether fiction provides audiences with a realistic imitation of propaganda, or may give them a critical eye towards themes, I’m going to explain more widely in the coming podcast.


Rose, by considering your explanation, I’m thinking about morality!

What morality is really?

How we can evaluate it? is it lie down in our culture?


This human behavior is still controversial. The traditional view of social scientists has been that morality is a construct, and is thus culturally relative, although others argue that there is a science of morality. I will go through Kohlberg’s theory but before I begin I should explain what culture is?

Culture is a fuzzy set of basic assumptions and values, orientations to life, beliefs, policies, procedures and behavioral conventions that are shared by a group of people, and that influence each member’s behavior and gives you interpretations of the ‘meaning’ of other people’s behavior. So, Culture is something to learn, not inherited. It derives from one’s social environment, not from one’s genes. To sum, Human behavior is strongly influenced by the environment they live in.

Culture has its own concepts. One is the concept of “morality” that is actually right or wrong, which may be independent of the values or mores held by any particular peoples or cultures.

Literature provides an opportunity for children to conceptualized life and world. Nevertheless, off and on, given concepts are integrated by other daily practice or rituals, make it “concept-less”.

When we talk about Morality, I believe we should go through Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development. Lawrence Kohlberg (1987) was an American psychologist best known for his theory of stages of moral development. His area of interest was “moral judgment”, extending Jean Piaget’s account of children’s moral development and used Piaget’s storytelling technique to tell people stories involving moral dilemmas. He created a new field within psychology: “moral development”.

In some cases, Kohlberg presented a choice to be considered, the concept of authority rights in one hand, and the needs of some deserving individual who is being unfairly treated. In somehow, considering between Human Right and Authority.

One of the best knowns of Kohlberg’s (1958) is Heinz’s wife cancer.

Heinz’s wife was suffering from a particular type of cancer. Doctors said a new drug had been discovered might save her. Sadly, Heinz could only raise half the money, even after help from family and friends. He desperately explains to chemist his wife would die and asked if he could have the drug cheaper or pay the rest of the money later. The chemist refused, saying that he had discovered the drug and want to make money from it. The husband was desperate to save his wife, so later that night he broke into the chemist’s and stole the drug.

Now the question is, what is your idea about his action? Do you agree or not? Should he steal it and accept his punishing or not?

Just think about it for some second…

Kohlberg asked a series of questions, as we did, such as:

  1. Should Heinz have stolen the drug?
  2. Would it change anything if Heinz did not love his wife?
  3. What if the person dying was a stranger, would it make any difference?
  4. Should the police arrest the chemist for murder if the woman died?

Things was important for Kohlberg was the reasons of children decision.

The sample contained 72 children aged 10–16 years, 58 of whom were followed up at three-yearly intervals for 20 years (Kohlberg, 1984).

By analyzing the answers from children of different ages, Kohlberg finally discovered how moral reasoning changed as people grew older.

Kohlberg discovered that these reasons tended to change as the children got older. He identified three distinct levels of moral reasoning each with two sub-stages.

Level 1 – Pre-conventional morality

At the pre-conventional level (most nine-years-old and younger, some over nine), human doesn’t have a personal code of morality. Instead, our moral code is shaped by the standards of adults and the consequences of following or breaking their rules. If they break it, in consequence they punish so in case of avoiding being published he called it,

  • Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation.


Level 2 – Conventional morality

At the conventional level (most adolescents and adults), Human modeled the given moral value of adult role. They evaluate behavior based on the moral standards of valued adult role models. And authority is internalized but not questioned. So, it is important to be seen as being a good person by model, so if the model says this is Good, or Bad, we  make it internalize and inerpesonal it. so Kolberge titled it:


  • Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships.

Level 3 – Post-conventional morality

The final stage showing individual would take their own moral views and thier judment is based on self-chosen principle, and moral reasoning is based on individual rights and justice. Kohlberg explain how very few people get to this transcendental stage only about 10%, only a numerable think through ethical principles for themselves.

In this stage, people would realized meanwhile rules or law is exist for the good of the greatest number but sometimes it can work against the interest of particular individuals. Therefore, individual at this stage, developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. The principles apply to everyone. So, Kolhberge called it, Universal Principles. something like, human rights, justice, and equality.

Human will be defended these principles even if it means going against the rest of society in the process and having to pay the consequences of disapproval and or imprisonment.


So, by the difinistion we had about the culture, we understand to reach the last stage of Kolberg moral development theory, human must be crossed and go beyond the common culture if the culture is still standing in the first stage of Kohlberg’s theory; the societies with the lack concept of equaility in gender, democracy and the culture of tolerance. Litrature, historically, try to give the best concept to the human but when it goes to culture, off and on, become concept less.

Now guys you have learned a lot about the effect of stories on our children and the way to connect with your children by their own stories.

There are some activities available in the library right here in our website, let us know your idea. I want you to think about it.

What is the best steps to more effective Parenting? And let’s share.

Thanks for listening

1-Investigating the Effect of the Content of Children’s Stories on their Socialization, “In the Muslim community” (Case Study: 5-6 years-old children in Isfahan)”; Human Sciences Research Journal. Vol., 1,No.3,2015, ISSN 24333-3862

2-Rukeyser’s poem

3-Boltman, Angela. (2002). Childrens Storytelling Technologies: Differences in Elaboration and Recall. 

Aiex, N.K. (1988) Storytelling: Its wide-ranging impact in the classroom. Bloomington, IN: Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED299574).

Cass, J. (1967). Literature and the young child. London, England: Longmans, Green & Co. 

Grugeon, E. & Gardner, P. (2000). The art of storytelling for teachers and pupils. London, England: David Fulton Publishers.

McWilliams, B. (2000). What is storytelling? Retrieved October 9, 2000, from 

Meek, M. (1988). How texts teach what readers learn. Stroud, England: Thimble. 

National Council of Teachers of English, Committee on Storytelling. (1998, November). Teaching storytelling. Retrieved October 15, 2000, from

4-Engel, S. (1999). The stories children tell.  New York: W.H. Freeman & Company.

5-McLean, Kate & Pasupathi, Monisha & L Pals, Jennifer. (2007). Selves Creating Stories Creating Selves: A Process Model of Self-Development. Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. 11. 262-78. 10.1177/1088868307301034.

6-Sarbin, Theodore R. (1986). Narrative Psychology: The storied nature of human conduct. Praeger. ISBN 9780275921033.


8-Elder, Katherine. “Propaganda for Kids: Comparing IS-Produced Propaganda to Depictions of Propaganda in The Hunger Games and Harry Potter Film Series.” International Journal of Communication [Online], 12 (2018): 19. Web. 12 Jul. 2019


Recommended video to watch

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer(Lyrics)


Lawrence Kohlberg (1958)


There’s more to life than being happy


Who was Kohlberg

Text in Arabic will be added soon please check later

Text in Norwegian will be added soon please check later

Activity for parents 1

Let your beloved child tell you her/his own story life. Then illustrate it together and hang it to the wall. Leave it for later to discuss about. 


Activity for parents 2

What do you think about I and Me taken from stories?

Two classical theorists George Herbert Mead (February 27, 1863 – April 26, 1931) and Charles Horton Cooley (August 17, 1864 – May 7, 1929) both believe other people play a significant role in how individual view themselves but in a different way. Whereas Cooley thought that everyone that individual interacts with during their entire lifespan has an impression of how s/he perceives self-identity in some way or another, but for Mead, the process was more restricted. Mead believed that only certain people influence human perception of self and only during certain periods of life and it can change across the lifespan. For example, Mead thought infants and other very young children cannot actually be impressed by others. Instead, young children usually focus on their own world and, therefore, they don’t really care about what other people think of them. In short, they are not able to take the other’s perspective about themselves. But later, when children grow up their beliefs about how others perceived them become more important. Mead explained it in three stages including the preparatory stage, play stage, and game stage.

In case of understanding how your children take self from the world around and the stories please after reading night stories, let children discuss about the story in the other word, let them create their own story. Try to understand “How you became you”. After writing down those tips please let us share. 


Activity for parents 3

Make your children happy by giving them a book but later realize what concept they take as a lesson from the book after that discuss about it. help children consider new ideas through story. 

Also please watch the link below: 


Activity for parents 4

Examining Child’s Concept of Death. Considering the difference between the “Religious Rituals” mentioning the concept of death such as Al Adha, and the traditional one like the funeral ritual. Let’s share that do parents allow the child to participate in those rituals both?

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