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Love Child

My kid raising manual didn’t arrive with the delivery. It didn’t arrive at any of the three baby deliveries.
I couldn’t return the goods so I had to just make do and raise them according to the principles of ‘mum knows best’. I make it up as I go along. I also believe firmly that kids need an abundance of love, guidance and grit.
Yup sharp stuff that doesn’t taste so good. You find it on the side of life’s highways. Kids know they need it. Show me a toddler who hasn’t tried to stick great fistfuls of it in their mouth!
When I read that a primary school in Weston Super Mare has officially banned Valentines Day cards to save the tots from the trauma of rejection, I couldn’t believe it. The Head Teacher says that he was trying to save his young students from the ‘trauma of being dumped’. 
Excuse me? 
These kids are aged between 5-12. They’re celebrating Valentines Day? They’re getting ‘dumped’? I thought dump was mostly used as a noun attached to toy trucks at that age!
According to the head teacher (as reported on the BBC here) 
“… children get upset when they are “dumped” which interrupts their learning.
He said children should wait until they are mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment in having a boyfriend or girlfriend.”
At first I thought, how ridiculously precocious having boyfriends and girlfriend at that age. Then with a cringe I remembered the games of ‘kiss chasey’ when I was at primary school. I was certain I was going to marry my little friend Wade and live happily ever after on his cattle farm, when I was five. I remembered being very good at kiss chasey. I was fast and determined to catch whomever I was chasing (things haven’t changed much in grown up life).
When I was ten my mother packed me off to an all girls’ school to ensure that I remained out of reach of the opposite sex for a few years at least.
Maybe it’s not so different now from when I was young…
My youngest daughter has invited one friend to her tenth birthday party at Alton Towers next week, a young boy. She came home in tears the other day explaining that the girls at school were teasing her about her boyfriend.
‘But we’re friends Mum. I like him. But not like, like him!’
I understand completely.
Aren’t they taking it all a bit seriously? Dark Princess came home with tales of woe amongst her group of girlfriends. One of the girls’ boyfriends has been ‘cheating on her with seven other girls’.
Cheating? At 13years old? With seven other girls?(Obviously a very busy boy!)
Howdo you ‘cheat’ when you’re 13? By kissing someone else? By sending them a Valentines Day card?(Please reassure me they’re not having sex..)
It’s all too serious and silly if you ask me. And as for the teacher banning Valentines Day cards, doesn’t that just give the whole thing a gravity it previously didn’t have? What’s more, shouldn’t our kids be able to cope?
On the one hand we’re shrouding them in cotton wool so they aren’t traumatised emotionally yet on the other we’re expecting them to be traumatised by applying adult logic and behaviour to childhood games. Let the kids eat a bit of grit, and leave them alone to their happy innocent dreams of what adult life could be like for them. 
They’ll learn soon enough it aint like that, let’s hope they’ve eaten enough grit so that they’ll be ready to cope with it when they get there.

Image: Flickr CC plousia

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  • MrsW

    I wish I could reassure you about 13 year olds, but even back in the dark ages when I was 13 I had at least one rather precocious friend who… well we'll leave it at that :)I think Valentines day is just another one of those things like Halloween that's been hi-jacked by American sensitivity and watered down beyond all recognition. When you see in the shops Valentine cards for your Mum/kids/Granny/budgie – it's a sure sign it's not the Valentine's Day I remember!My 14yo daughter does find the whole thing uncomfortable, it's not fun when there's tons of kids howking pink teddies, heart cushions, choccies and sacks of cards around school all day (and that's just the boys) when you're an emo-goth :) I blame the internet – some of these kids clearly don't know you can stick a stamp on stuff and POST it! It is supposed to be secret after all.

  • MrsW

    I wish I could reassure you about 13 year olds, but even back in the dark ages when I was 13 I had at least one rather precocious friend who… well we'll leave it at that :)

    I think Valentines day is just another one of those things like Halloween that's been hi-jacked by American sensitivity and watered down beyond all recognition. When you see in the shops Valentine cards for your Mum/kids/Granny/budgie – it's a sure sign it's not the Valentine's Day I remember!

    My 14yo daughter does find the whole thing uncomfortable, it's not fun when there's tons of kids howking pink teddies, heart cushions, choccies and sacks of cards around school all day (and that's just the boys) when you're an emo-goth :)

    I blame the internet – some of these kids clearly don't know you can stick a stamp on stuff and POST it! It is supposed to be secret after all.

  • Very Bored in Catalunya

    "He said children should wait until they are mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment in having a boyfriend or girlfriend."Blimey, that could be well into their 50's! Utter nonsense, kids have to experience disappointment every now and again, it's like not having a competitive sports day, we are just creating a generation of spoilt brats who are used to getting everything their way without having to actually try for anything.

  • Very Bored in Catalunya

    "He said children should wait until they are mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment in having a boyfriend or girlfriend."

    Blimey, that could be well into their 50's! Utter nonsense, kids have to experience disappointment every now and again, it's like not having a competitive sports day, we are just creating a generation of spoilt brats who are used to getting everything their way without having to actually try for anything.

  • vegemitevix

    Mrs W – Cor they're forward over here! Is it a Northern Hemisphere thing? I don't remember celebrating Valentine's Day at all until a few years ago. Very Bored – Some men never mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment in having a (emphasis on singular) girlfriend. ;-p

  • vegemitevix

    Mrs W – Cor they're forward over here! Is it a Northern Hemisphere thing? I don't remember celebrating Valentine's Day at all until a few years ago.

    Very Bored – Some men never mature enough emotionally and socially to understand the commitment in having a (emphasis on singular) girlfriend. ;-p

  • MrsW

    Probably something to do with the weather – it's always the weather!

  • MrsW

    Probably something to do with the weather – it's always the weather!

  • momentsofwhimsy

    Haha re the weather thing. I have heard of baby booms in the northern hemisphere 9 months to the date from a severe winters day where the power is out…….I've also heard numerous stories of 13 year olds getting stuck into…."it"….yep, even here in little ol' NZ intermediate schools Vege!But politically correct Valentines giving? Oh my…

  • momentsofwhimsy

    Haha re the weather thing. I have heard of baby booms in the northern hemisphere 9 months to the date from a severe winters day where the power is out…….

    I've also heard numerous stories of 13 year olds getting stuck into…."it"….yep, even here in little ol' NZ intermediate schools Vege!

    But politically correct Valentines giving? Oh my…

  • Heather

    here Valentines day is called friends day and you send cards to all your friends. Just in case you were interested.when I heard about the school banning I thought it must be something to do with the sheer number of cards, people sending them to all their friends, like chistmas cards, and it just getting really over the top, i didn't realise it was to protect their little broken hearts. I think the cotton wool budget for most schools must be through the roof these days with all this wrapping them in the stuff they do. When are children supposed to learn about life exactly? After they've finally left the school system and are supposed to be adults? Now that is a frightening thought!

  • Heather

    here Valentines day is called friends day and you send cards to all your friends. Just in case you were interested.

    when I heard about the school banning I thought it must be something to do with the sheer number of cards, people sending them to all their friends, like chistmas cards, and it just getting really over the top, i didn't realise it was to protect their little broken hearts. I think the cotton wool budget for most schools must be through the roof these days with all this wrapping them in the stuff they do. When are children supposed to learn about life exactly? After they've finally left the school system and are supposed to be adults? Now that is a frightening thought!

  • vegemitevix

    Whimsy – You're quite right! After all I was packed off to girls' school so I know there was a fair amount of 'it' around when I was thirteen! :-)Heather – Worrying isn't it. I heard some teens on TV asking their local MP what he was going to do about them being bored! It's all about a culture of blame – someone else's fault – and never learning from our mistakes, for this generation. Oh that's right they're not allowed to make any!

  • vegemitevix

    Whimsy – You're quite right! After all I was packed off to girls' school so I know there was a fair amount of 'it' around when I was thirteen! :-)

    Heather – Worrying isn't it. I heard some teens on TV asking their local MP what he was going to do about them being bored! It's all about a culture of blame – someone else's fault – and never learning from our mistakes, for this generation. Oh that's right they're not allowed to make any!

  • Josie @Sleep is for the Weak

    Ooh I don't like this. I have big problem when we start talking about shielding our children from the world, life and all it's ups and downs.Children are social beings. The whole 'I like that boy, oh sob sob now he likes my friend' may seem all a bit overly serious and dramatic to us but just like kids 'play' at being mummys and keeping house so they 'play' at relationships too.The early sexualisation of children is a seperate issue and of course a worry to parents. But wrapping our children up in cotton wool to 'keep them children' usually has the exact opposite intent in my experience.Better to teach children how to handle difficult emotions and feelings about attraction and rejection then pretend they don't exist and leave children to muddle their way through things on their own – THAT'S when problems arise.Another long comment! My goodness I'm wordy this morning – apologies! x

  • Josie @Sleep is for the Weak

    Ooh I don't like this. I have big problem when we start talking about shielding our children from the world, life and all it's ups and downs.

    Children are social beings. The whole 'I like that boy, oh sob sob now he likes my friend' may seem all a bit overly serious and dramatic to us but just like kids 'play' at being mummys and keeping house so they 'play' at relationships too.

    The early sexualisation of children is a seperate issue and of course a worry to parents. But wrapping our children up in cotton wool to 'keep them children' usually has the exact opposite intent in my experience.

    Better to teach children how to handle difficult emotions and feelings about attraction and rejection then pretend they don't exist and leave children to muddle their way through things on their own – THAT'S when problems arise.

    Another long comment! My goodness I'm wordy this morning – apologies! x

  • Bronagh

    I'm agreeing with Josie on this one – you're better off teaching kids how to handle the difficult emotions rather than pretend they don't exist. Life isn't all shiny, happy stuff – bad things happen, feelings get hurt and kids need to know that.

  • Madmother

    It is not banned here. In Grade 4/5 of our little school the dating stuff started. And the talk of sex and innuendo. I hate it! Since when do 9 and 10 year olds know so much? I didn't and I was pretty precocious. And the talk of who is a freak and who is cool. As the mother of an ASD child it just becomes one more reason for my heart to break. I mean, who gives Valentine's carss to the spastic?Pro-ban here. Wish it was here.

  • Madmother

    It is not banned here. In Grade 4/5 of our little school the dating stuff started. And the talk of sex and innuendo. I hate it! Since when do 9 and 10 year olds know so much? I didn't and I was pretty precocious. And the talk of who is a freak and who is cool.

    As the mother of an ASD child it just becomes one more reason for my heart to break. I mean, who gives Valentine's carss to the spastic?

    Pro-ban here. Wish it was here.

  • Bronagh

    I'm agreeing with Josie on this one – you're better off teaching kids how to handle the difficult emotions rather than pretend they don't exist. Life isn't all shiny, happy stuff – bad things happen, feelings get hurt and kids need to know that.