Sesame Street

Posted on: Thu, 02/28/2002 - 7:17am
yuck2nuts's picture
Joined: 02/28/2002 - 09:00

I am new to this discussion site. I have a 2-year old PA daughter.

I just sent off a letter to Sesame Street. I am so tired of seeing Cookie Monster eat peanut butter cookies and Mr. Hooper serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in his store (without any discussion of the fact that perhaps not every viewer out there could eat those things). The thrust of my letter stated that I know we live in a peanut-filled world, so I am not asking for a ban of peanuts on their show, but I also expressed the fact that the show is so sensitive and educational to diversity issues and physical handicaps, etc., why not be more sensitive/educational to the peanut allergy issue? I said that I know their writers are some of the best in the industry, so I'm sure they can figure out a creative way to deal with this on the show. If between 1 to 3 kids out of 100 who watch the show have the allergy and probably nearly all will know someone in their childhood (once they reach school), then why can't the show deal with this? They have many kids with other "handicaps" as regular characters and are so sensitive to those issues.

Has anyone ever written to a television show about this before?

I'll post my response if I get one (I am not sure I sent it to the right person, so I'll wait to find out if I need to send it to someone else at PBS, CTW, or Sesame Street).

And yes, I know that Sesame Street is just one of many shows that have peanut butter thrown "right in the faces" of our children each day, but I feel this is one of my daughter's favorite shows and it is of the highest quality, and perhaps they may just do something about it.

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 12:37am
AJSMAMA's picture
Joined: 06/12/2002 - 09:00

I haven't really noticed this Ann. It does seem like they try to address how everyone is different - yet the same. I would think that they would listen to your concerns if you voiced them to them.

Posted on: Wed, 09/11/2002 - 10:35am
SF's picture
Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

Many childrens shows reference peanut butter often. I also think we notice these types of things since it is a part of our daily lives and poison to our children. I know that Barney and a few other shows that I can't think of also mention peanut butter.
My feeling is this: I allow my children to watch these shows and if it comes up, I remind them about the seriousness of their allergy. Most of the time they will hear peanuts or peanut butter mentioned and immediately say "yucky peanuts" Eeeeewwww!! [img][/img]

Posted on: Mon, 09/23/2002 - 11:24am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Of course the "best" is Disney's PB&J Otter! For a long time I didn't want my son to watch that show. I let him watch it a few times but would cringe inside (not for him to see!) every time the character's name, Peanut, was said.

Posted on: Tue, 09/24/2002 - 5:59am
yuck2nuts's picture
Joined: 02/28/2002 - 09:00

I started a thread on the Main Board regarding Sesame Street and peanuts about 6 months ago, and I have to say that my feelings regarding this have changed in the past 6 months. At the time, I too was cringing every time I saw peanuts on kids programs and I tried to distract my daughter as soon as I saw it come up on the screen. I also wrote a long note to Sesame Street/Children's Television Workshop expressing my feelings that the show was not sensitive enough to PA. I wanted them to understand that at least 3 out of every 100 kids watching their show have PA, and while I was very impressed with their sensitivity and inclusion of children with many other handicaps/minorities, they seemed clueless when it came to PA. I never got a response from them, but it felt good to send the note. By the way, they don't open any snail mail due to the Anthrax scares of the past have to write your comments at their web site and they limit the number of characters you can put in the note.
Anyway, since then my daughter has grown up another 6 months (will be 3 in Dec.) and has been exposed to a lot of other shows with peanuts. I have become less anxious about this exposure because I realize that we live in a peanut-filled world and she has got to learn to live in it. Like the other comment above, I try to always say "yuck to nuts" when we see nuts (hence my "name" here on the PA site) and explain that our family does not eat nuts of any kind. This way, I hope her overall feeling (for now, at this young age) is not one of exclusion because our whole family does not eat them, but she is learning that it is just not something that we do (like how some families don't eat pork, etc.).
However, I have to agree with you that Sesame Street, being produced by some of the most talented educators in the country, could be a lot more sensitive to the subject. When the characters at the restaurant order "peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone!", they could at least temper that with a comment like..."well let's remember that not everyone can safely eat pb&j," or something like that.
My newer feelings on the subject are that I think we can use these TV experiences as good foundations to start simple discussions with our little ones about their allergy, or just use them as other excuses to reinforce that nuts are "yucky." But greater awareness and sensitivity on the part of these TV producers would be nice order to educate all the non-PA people out there.

Posted on: Thu, 02/28/2002 - 8:05am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

That is SO interesting!! (I mean, I understand what you are saying totally- I refuse to allow my 3 yo daughter to even watch PB + J Otter! [img][/img] )
Anyway, I was actually thinking just yesterday morning that Sesame Street and Clifford are both so much better that way than anything else on (ie- what little my dd watches). Like the "everybody eats" song in yesterday morning's show.... I was really kind of holding my breath waiting for the inevitable PB + J to be prominantly placed- and it wasn't. At all. I was so pleased!
Yes- I have used the segment at Hooper's store to talk to my daughter about the fact that many people like to eat PB, and that it IS in most people's houses... and why it isn't in ours. (But I probably wouldn't have even tried that discussion just a year ago.) BUT I thought it was really great that in one of those segments with Zoe and Rosita, PB wasn't available.... Zoe was very disappointed, and said that was all she ever had. I thought that was pretty good food for thought.... for my daughter and for me. I also noticed that my dd pays a LOT of attention to how conflicts over food are handled.
I am often SOO disappointed in how food is handled in other children's programming, and I had always felt that SS was a lot more sensitive that way, so I was pretty amazed to see someone who thought they were doing a bad job! (Not that I would mind if they highlighted PA specifically- Hurray!!)

Posted on: Thu, 02/28/2002 - 10:35am
momjd's picture
Joined: 02/24/2002 - 09:00

I cringe every time I click past PB&J Otter! Since my son is also egg allergic I am uncomfortable with Cookie Monster in general which is sad b/c he was my favorite character. I guess those shows will provide me with convrsation starters.

Posted on: Fri, 03/01/2002 - 12:01am
ConcernedMom's picture
Joined: 01/31/2001 - 09:00

I often wish a popular kids show would do a show about food allergies so that our children would not feel so alone, and so that non-allergic kids would learn about what it means to have a food allergy. Then maybe a new generation of understanding people will know the realities of food allergies.
I would not pick Sesame Street, however, I do not like how Cookie Monster uses "Me" instead of "I" (Me want cookie) and Elmo refers to himself in the third person.

Posted on: Sat, 03/02/2002 - 7:49am
AndysMom's picture
Joined: 02/21/2002 - 09:00

I'm hoping someone can explain this to me, I'm not trying to sound rude, but I just don't understand why PB&J Otter is a bad show for PA kids. My son watched that show every day when we had cable and loved it. It sounds bad but our Food Allergic kids need to learn that the world does not revolve around their allergies.
Proud Stay at Home Mom to:
Allicia: 12/93 Many EA's and a mild dairy allergy
Jacob: 3/96 Allergic to Dogs, Cats, Horses, many other EA's. Allergic to Wheat, mild dairy and egg.
Andrew 10/97 Anaphylactic to Legumes (reacts most to soy and peanuts), Allergic to egg, dairy, wheat.

Posted on: Sat, 03/02/2002 - 8:41am
Mike and Missy's picture
Joined: 04/26/2001 - 09:00

I have to agree with Andy's mom. Peanuts, nuts, etc are everywhere. If it really bothers the parents then don't let your children watch it. I know this sounds harsh and I don't mean to, but our children need to grow up in this world.
I must admit that I have let my children watch shows in the past where the English hasn't been the greatest. My 11 year old son and my nine year old son are "A" students. A+ in English!
I think it's what we instill in the home. My nine year old is pa/ta and seafood. He is very responsible and knows that the world contains peanut butter and nuts. He lives with it, and if he doesn't like what he sees he removes himself. His school is very helpful in providing a peanut and nut safe environment.
Again, please don't take my opinion the wrong way, it's only my opinion!!
Take care,

Posted on: Sat, 03/02/2002 - 8:56am
momjd's picture
Joined: 02/24/2002 - 09:00

With re: PB&J Otter: My ds is only 14 mo. so it's not a matter of hoping to shelter him forever, more a matter of his first cartoons should't revolve around characters named after foods he doesn't know exist and can't have. Once he's older and I can discuss issues with him I may feel differently, I just don't want him to associate his fondness for a cartoon character with a food right now.
With re: Sesame Street, I don't mind him watching it, but he can't ever eat cookies with the reckless abandon of Cookie Monster- so I'd prefer for him not to see that behavior and imitate it.
Once I've taught him what he can't have, then I'll let him find out that other people in the world can have it. Right now I'm focussed on teaching him to enjoy what he can have.


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