Thursday, August 12, 2010
Sean and Shaun the Sheep
Shaun the Sheep is a stop-motion British TV series from the creators of Wallace and Gromit. The title character is a smart, skinny sheep (pictured above getting a medal) who's the leader of a flock of fluffy, dim-witted sheep. A premise of the series is that Shaun exhibits human intelligence and creativity to resolve problems the farm animals encounter.
It is a very funny show and Sean absolutely loves watching the dvds we have. This post isn't a tv show review, but relates to what I had mentioned a couple of days earlier about a playground incident/s Sean faced last school year. Sort of a post on how we deal with teasing/verbal bullying. One day I might write about how we handled Brian's one and only experience with verbal bullying, which happened when he was about 9/10 in his London prep school.
Back to Sean, this was 10 days after he joined the school (April). Anyway, to save myself some writing, I'm just cutting and pasting the email I sent to his school counselor Sarah.
"When Sean came home today, he was worried that he would get into trouble with me for not being able to find his lost items, which include a water bottle and his prescription goggles. Now because he was worried, I managed to get him to tell me stuff about school which he has refused to since school started. What I found out kind of confirmed my gut feel that something wasn't going well in school. He is happy and his classmates are fine but he said a boy from another class would call him Sean the Sheep :) As he was telling me this, his tears started to flow.
I was amused and told him Sean the Sheep is cute, to which he continued crying and saying, "But I don't like it."
I suggested that maybe that boy was just trying to be friendly, but Sean disagreed and said he doesn't think so. Only after a while did he say, "Are you sure he's just trying to be friends?"
At first he said the boy only called him Sean the Sheep yesterday, but later he said the 'teasing' started last week. And the boy was with a group of children, and after he called Sean that, that boy's friend would also join in and call Sean that.
What I've told Sean for now is this:
i) Don't assume the worst of others. That boy may just be trying to be friendly. And Sean/Shaun the Sheep is a cute character anyway, so I told him he could take this positively. (He insisted he didn't like it though).
ii) I told him that while Shaun the Sheep seems totally harmless to me -- cute even -- I will still have to acknowledge that he felt hurt...hurt enough to firstly not tell me about it, and finally, when telling me about it, to cry sadly. I said if he wanted to, he could tell the kids he didn't like it. But I said if it were me, I wouldn't bother.
iii) Of course, there's the possibility that the kids were picking on him. And I said with verbal bullies, all they want is a reaction. So if you ignore and not react, they'll leave you alone soon enough.
So basically, for now, this is just for your information. If this continues, and he's still affected by this, I'll let you know.
He's still happy to go to school so this isn't a big deal. But I don't want him to feel his feelings are being brushed aside. And I'm also wondering if this is another reason he prefers to go to the library instead of hanging around at the playground; besides having no one to play with."
Reply from Counselor,
That’s fantastic advice to Sean! It’s very normal for kids who are undergoing a transition to be very sensitive. So even if he normally wouldn’t mind, being call Sean the Sheep might be the worst thing that could happen at this particular moment.
Please continue checking in with him and do let us know if Sean continues to feel picked on by this kid. While I agree with not making too big a deal out of it, sometimes kids do need a bit of extra “sheltering” during the settling in period.
I won’t be able to get him for lunch Wednesday as we’re off, but will make sure I check in with him too this week.
I never brought this up again cos true enough, the teasing stopped. Funny though the stuff that kids get bothered about. There are worse things than to be associated with Shaun the Sheep right? :)