If your child is like many across the United States, they celebrated Valentine’s Day in school recently. The tradition of sending valentines was originally dedicated to lovers or would-be suitors, but now, people seem exchange greetings with just about everyone they know in what many view as a manufactured holiday by the greeting card industry. There is a strong push to exchange cards with classmates. When you were a child, you likely gave out valentines to classmates selectively. Then, in response to some children being like Charlie Brown without a single valentine, a rule was made that if one hands out valentines, they have one for each class member. Today, many schools have gone so far as to make the practice mandatory. I’m not writing today to enter the discussion of whether or not these classroom exchanges are appropriate. The spillover from classroom card exchanges is significant enough to be addressed, however. You can use this holiday as a window of opportunity to discuss consideration of others’ feelings. There are probably few people who haven’t seen A Charlie Brown Valentine at least once since it debuted in 2002. In case you’re one of those few, it depicts Charlie Brown and his cohorts as they deal with what it means to “like” someone on Valentine’s Day. More than one child has hurt feelings as a result. Neither you nor your child want to pretend that they have romantic interests in someone they don’t and you don’t want them to pretend to be friends with someone they don’t like. However, that doesn’t mean you want to callously disregard the feelings of other children, either. This is a great starting point for you to open a conversation with child about how they might handle similar scenarios.
- What do you say when someone you view as a friend asks if you “like” him/her?
- How would you react if you have a crush on someone and they don’t seem to know you’re alive?
- Is it possible that you could be like the Little Red Haired Girl, completely oblivious to the adoration of another?
- If so, what are some ways you might handle that situation?