- Why do you think Sonic lived with Longclaw? Did it seem like Sonic was happy with Longclaw?
Caregiver Note: Sonic states that he was raised by Longclaw but does not delve into how he came into her custody. It’s important for children to connect that not all caregivers are scary or incompetent as often portrayed in popular media. Longclaw absolutely appeared to meet Sonic’s needs and attempted to put into place boundaries to keep Sonic safe. Longclaw was also willing to take personal pain (and possibly death) to protect Sonic and showed a great bond with Sonic.
- When Sonic began watching the humans, what kind of humans did he wish to be close to? Were there similarities between Tom and Maddie with Longclaw?
Caregiver Note: Sometimes children from the child welfare system have been exposed to so many experiences that it becomes hard to decipher who is a safe or an unsafe adult to connect with. Help your child think of characteristics that showed that the Wachowskis were safe adults like Longclaw. Examples can include that Tom is a good police officer who wants to help others, Maddie is a veterinarian and wants to help others, they are kind to people around them, they don’t expect favors or things from others, they are kind to their pet, and Tom is known to help even the town ducks.
- Why did Sonic pretend to play baseball with many versions of himself? Was he just acting “crazy”?
Caregiver Note: As adults, we can see that poor Sonic was very lonely and missing out on childhood experiences those outside of the welfare system may take for granted. Playing with friends, extracurricular activities, and bonding with mentors are all things that foster children and youth often long for and wish to belong.
- What are some things you wish you could do with other children or activities? What are some things we can do together like Longclaw and Sonic?
Caregiver Note: This is your chance to hear from your kids directly. Sometimes children may not be shy about interest in sports or clubs but others may be afraid to ask in fear of another “no” after a long history of “no”s. Make sure to be up-to-date with policies relating to normalcy in your area and communicate with your workers to make sure you can keep any potential promises before making them.
- Activity: Turtle Tag
Caregiver Note: This is an activity to encourage getting wiggles out and, of course, having fun like speedy Sonic. And the bigger the group, the better! To play turtle tag, you will play much like regular tag except one person will be “it” and one person will be Sonic. When the “it” player tags another player the tagged player must lay down on their back and stick both hands and feet straight in the air like a turtle on its back. To be saved, “Sonic” must assist the flipped player by gently pushing him onto their side to right them up. The object of the game is for the “it” person to flip all the turtles on their back before “Sonic” can flip them back over within 5 minutes. This game can also be modified to use 2-4 kickballs as a tagging tool for extra challenge at the caregiver’s discretion as some children may not throw balls appropriately or gently.
- Sonic tends to take things that don’t belong to him. Why does Sonic to that? Would taking what doesn’t belong to him be helpful after he moves in with the Wachowskis?
Caregiver Note: Sonic is portrayed as having no one take care of him and so Sonic must use whatever means necessary to take care of himself in the absence of a caregiver. Sonic frequently swipes food and other items to make his time on Earth more comfortable and meet his needs. Talk to your child about how Sonic is not a “bad guy” for doing the only thing he knows to take care of himself. Children often engage in “survival behaviors” that make a lot of sense in situations of survival and are reasonable responses in extraordinary situations. However, it is still good to discuss how Sonic will not need that behavior in a safe place where adults are taking care of him. Children in care will need extra practice in expressing what they need and having that need met in a more appropriate way.
- Dr. Robotnik says that he was an orphan who had a hard life when he was younger before he became a famous genius. Does that make it okay for him to treat others with bullying, insults, and hitting?
Caregiver Note: Dr. Robotnik clearly has suffered immense trauma from his earlier experiences but shows an example of how trauma that is not transformed is transferred. Dr. Robotnik is a very intelligent adult but isolates himself with mean, bullying behavior and treating others with abuse and disrespect. Because of his behaviors Dr. Robotnik is isolated and others indicate they do not want to be around him if at all possible, especially during the Pentagon meeting. This is a chance to talk with your child about how hurting others will not resolve their own hurt and will only cause more pain and consequences for everyone.
- What would Dr. Robotnik have been like if he was helped by adults like the Wachowskis when he was younger? What could he have learned?
Caregiver Note: This is another question that gives an opportunity for children to identify safe adults. Humans grow through relationships as we are social creatures and need both examples of how to conduct social exchanges as well as practice in serve and return interactions. Children may recognize that the Wachowskis are kind, like they are with Sonic, and may have taught Dr. Robotnik to treat others well and respect authority. He may have also benefited from feeling felt safety in competent adults instead of pushing others away to avoid being hurt. Dr. Robotnik may have also eventually used his intelligence for something good instead of evil and harm for others.
- How can I help you to feel safe? How can I, like the Wachowskis, help you feel like a an member of this family?
Caregiver Note: This question will bring the discussion back again to your household. Allow your child to talk openly and honestly, even if some parts are hard to hear. Be prepared to listen underneath the surface as well if a child grows angry or sad while discussing this. There may be big feelings that are hiding a lot of hurt under the surface. Let the child guide this part of the discussion and respect their space if they don’t wish to talk to far if the subject is too difficult.
- Activity: Sonic’s Hedge-Cave
Caregiver Note: This will be a fun activity for kids and youth of any age. Pull out some paper and pencils and help them create their dream room, man cave, she-shed, etc. like how the Wachowskis made a home-version of Sonic’s cave to make him feel more at home. Throughout the activity ask your child about the things that would be in the room and their favorite colors and patterns. Feel free to ask if they’d like to include aspects like pictures of their family or maybe traditions they had in the home of origin. Perhaps you can get some tips about what a child may like in their real bedroom to help their stay be more comfortable.
[Donate to this Project]
About The Reviewer: Rachael Rathe
Rachael B. Rathe is an East Tennessee native with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Child & Family Studies from The University of Tennessee Knoxville. She has worked in mental health since 2013 and in foster care/adoptions for a private provider agency since 2014. Rachael was inspired to work in the field after working with children and teens on a volunteer basis 2008 – 2013. Rachael’s ideal self-care day involves snuggling on a couch with her kitties (Tabitha, Fergus, and Rufus) while enjoying a good movie or book. She also enjoys galavanting around conventions concerning all things nerd and geekery.
**Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.