Valentine’s Day and Bullying: 3 Quick Tips for Parents

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Ah, it’s that time of year when tissue boxes become mailboxes, and little candy hearts proliferate.  That’s right – it’s Valentine’s Day.  But just like for some adults, Valentine’s Day isn’t all hearts and roses for all of our kids. 

Maybe more than some other holidays, V-Day is ripe for bullying opportunities.  For elementary school students, hopefully teachers have controls in place so that every child is treated equally.  However, Valentine’s Day can open up opportunities for teasing about members of the opposite sex, as well as highlight social standings (i.e. who gets “cooler” Valentines), and can reinforce cliques.  And it doesn’t go away in high school either – some of you may remember things like my high school did – rose sales, or sucker sales – with all of the “cool” kids getting tons of items and others getting none.  

Female pupil being bullied in elementary school

So what’s a parent to do?  Here are a few tips to help make sure your child’s Valentine’s Day, as well as others, are all full of heart, roses, and love.

  1.  Be Inclusive

            If your child’s school doesn’t have a policy of giving a Valentine to ALL students, then speak to your child’s teacher or principal about making such a policy.  If not, make sure that your child gives a Valentine to every person in his class – and that the Valentine’s are comparable.  Reinforce to your child that this is part of being polite and a good citizen, and that it is important to include everyone in the fun, even if you aren’t really good friends with a person.  If your child wants to do special things for their bestie – that’s ok!  Just work out a time to do so outside of the presence of others.  

     2.  Think About Allergies

As a food allergy mama, this is an important one for me.  Holidays can be sensitive points for kiddos with food allergies, as they often don’t get to participate.  Want to be a hero for a kid with food allergies – bring in non-food treats, or talk to your child’s teacher about what allergies are in the classroom and bring in allergy-friendly treats.  I will never forget the day that my daughter came home SO EXCITED because someone’s mom made dairy-free cupcakes that she could eat!  

   3.  Talk About Bullying

While boxed Valentine’s cards become somewhat irrelevant to high schoolers, talking about bullying is something that ALL parents can do.  Remind older students to consider others’ feelings on V-Day…even if it means not rubbing a girlfriend or boyfriend in a single friend’s face (we know how THAT feels as an adult!).  Talk with your kiddos about it’s not okay to tease or exclude others, and that Valentine’s Day is a great time to help build a positive classroom community based on respect and friendship.  Encourage your child to encourage HER friends to be inclusive to everyone, and discourage bullying behavior if they see it occur.  

So there are a few short tips to help make sure all of our kids have a great Valentine’s Day!  What tips do you have, or do you have any Valentine’s Day horror stories to share?  Leave us a comment below!

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Terrific pointers on making Valentine’s Day a bit more fun for everyone. Teaching kids about good manners and paying attention to other peoples feelings will help make the world a better place.

  2. says

    At my daughters daycare we are required to give cards to the entire class. They use a all or nothing type of thing and I’m okay with that.

    My son is in middle school but they seem to be too cool to really do anything.

    I remember the feeling of being left out when I was in school. It also became a bit of a competition to see how many gifts you get.

  3. Stephanie Jeannot says

    Yup! Have imdetailed conversations are great at directing kids to feel comfortable relaying information such as bullies in their classes that may be targeting them. Sweet Valentine’s ideas for classmates by the way.

  4. Pam says

    Bullying is so common and so sad. I like that you included food allergies on your list. You know, I read that a good portion of teens don’t actually carry their epipen because they’re scared of being bullied.

  5. says

    It is sad to know that this is what is really happening in schools nowadays. Personally, I think educating children not to be involved in bullying should start at home. Instill in them the value of kindness and to embrace each other’s uniqueness.

  6. says

    I remember mean girls getting extra candy or big valentines over the other girls. Making their live miserable. Hope this doesn’t happen anymore and teachers and parents work to stop kids from being bullied.

  7. says

    It is so important to talk about bullying with your children especially around Valentine’s Day. I remember the rose sales being so stressful when I was in high school. I remember some girls getting a a half a dozen and many getting none.

  8. says

    I like the idea of keeping it “inclusive.” I remember in grade school, I was the introvert that I still am today. Many kids would poke fun at me and some kids wouldn’t hand out cards to me – it was heartbreaking!

  9. says

    I don’t think I’ve ever been bullied regarding Valentine’s Day, but I don’t remember having to give cards to each member of my class when I was little. Is that a requirement in schools now?

  10. says

    When I was in elementary school, everyone in the class received a Valentine from everyone else. As an adult, I taught my kids to always include everyone on Valentine’s Day when they were in school. High School is a whole different story. I always felt for the kids who didn’t receive a rose.

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