Too Young for Romance

Filed under: Holidays

Charlie Brown never got a ValentineValentine's Day is almost upon us. Children of all ages will exchange cards, hugs and candy hearts. It starts as young as kindergarten, and continues until the kids discover that sometimes "love" is more fun in private.

I know this will make some folks mad, but maybe having little kids make Valentine's for their peers is a bad idea.

To illustrate, here are some examples, both personal and fictional.When I was a lad, a mere 6 years old, I had a girlfriend. She was a blonde. Short hair. Wendy to my Peter Pan. (Literally – we put on a play together at my house. I used my mother's wooden letter opener as a sword. Very romantic.) One day at school, we decided, over blocks, that we would have a baby together. We weren't clear on the details; we just knew that a man needed something and a woman needed something else. Put these two things together and WAM! Little bundle of joy. So we agreed to go to Woolworth's (a now-defunct department store) where we were positive the appropriate parts could be purchased. I don't think we knew what exactly we needed to buy, but we seemed certain that each came in it's own little plastic bag and was next to the pet food aisle. (That girl's name... was Nadya Suleman. Just kidding.)

Remember Ralph Wiggum? Poor Ralph. His heart was broken by Lisa Simpson when she rejected his offer of love. Eventually she gives him a Valentine – "I Choo-Choo-Choose You" – and all was forgiven.

Remember how Charlie Brown was the only kid in his class that didn't get a single Valentine? He opens his mailbox only to get a kiss on the nose from his trusty beagle.

No matter how hard teachers try to keep everything fair, there will always be a Charlie Brown or a Ralph Wiggum (it's usually the boys, isn't it?) who doesn't get a card. Or maybe they get a card, but everyone else gets more cards. And for the kid who isn't getting cards, Valentine's Day sucks big time. Typically the cardless kid is the one who isn't popular the rest of the year. Why create a school-sanctioned event that will make the poor guy feel even worse than he already does?

Look. Young love is adorable. Those little German kids who tried to elope were undeniably cute. And look at this video!

Can I get an "Awwww"? Still, why teach kids how to judge their peers based on some notion of romance that they don't really understand? I know. It's just fun. I should lighten up. But what if your child is Charlie Brown? Then how would you feel?

Confession time: My kindergarten success with the ladies didn't last; I had no elementary school romantic entanglements. By high school I got my mojo back, and I'm keeping those stories to myself. By then I didn't have to sit around a table with construction paper and glue making sticky heart-shaped cards for my fellow students.

Here's an idea. Why not make Valentine's Day cards for an organization like Meals on Wheels? Or Ronald McDonald House? Wouldn't that be a nice thing to do? It's certainly better than (a) forcing kids to make cards for kids in their class that they don't like, just to be "nice" or (b) letting them make cards only for the kids that they do like, thereby making anyone who doesn't get cards feel like crap. Let them discover boyfriend/girlfriend stuff on their own. It's cuter, and leads to less hurt feelings.

What do you think? Is it cute when little kids make Valentine's Day cards? Or are we teaching them a bad lesson?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.