Friday, February 16

Seeing the Peter Rabbit Movie? 5 Questions to Ask Your Child With NO Food Allergies

I woke up in the middle of night recently thinking about all the Peter Rabbit hubbub. I'm sure you've heard, but there is a scene in the new Peter Rabbit movie that shows the rabbits intentionally trying to throw berries into Tom's mouth, knowing he is allergic to them. Their evil quest is successful, and Tom has to use his EpiPen to stop progressing anaphylaxis. 

What's funny about that?

Nothing. It's called bullying, among other things.

But instead of writing another blog post about what's wrong with this scene, and how much it hurts those of us who have children with food allergies (and also hurts those WITH food allergies), I thought it might be most helpful to think about a positive step we can take NOW.

Yes, I'm going to #boycottPeterRabbit like many other food allergy families. Honestly, I wasn't too interested in having my kids watch the movie anyway, since it looked too action packed and stress inducing just from the previews, without even knowing about the food allergy scene.

However, there are many families with no food allergies, families who are our friends, who live in our community, and who we interact with all the time, who are going to see this movie.

If you're one of those families, all that I ask is that you take 5 minutes after the movie to talk with your child. Start by asking them these 5 questions, and...just listen

1. Do you know anyone who is allergic to food?

2. Do you think it's right to throw food at someone who is allergic to it, or tease them with it?

3. Do you think it would be funny?

4. How do you think that would make them feel?

5. How do you think someone with food allergies might feel about the scene in the movie when the rabbits throw food at Tom that he's allergic to?

Then, if your child has trouble understanding why the food allergy bullying scene might be hurtful to others like....

his or her friend from school with food allergies....

a kid they know who sits at the peanut free table at lunch...

or someone they've seen a birthday party that brings his/her own cupcake...

Explain to them how TRUE friends might act, and how important it is to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

Hopefully you can have a short and age-appropriate conversion about empathy and compassion. Even though there are many adults who have no empathy or compassion for people with food allergies (just read the comments of some of the articles online....I've learned to not even read them), I'm hoping the next generation, will grow up to be more compassionate about food allergies, and with a greater understanding of them and the risks associated with them.

Let me know if you ask these questions and how your child responds!


Diane said...

Very good Kathryn!

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