Here's how to help your child cope with receiving fewer valentines than others.
Dr. Wendy Walsh: In elementary school, the ritual has evolved into a race by mothers to purchase enough valentines for the entire class and force a young hand to inscribe them all. I should tell you at this point that I have never done the above. If my kids want to give a card, they make one themselves. If not, then no biggie. The popular mass-distribution method is simply too much work for me -- and too much bowing to a Hallmark holiday that holds little meaning in my life. However, there are mothers who take this valentine business very seriously. And my children's homemade valentines are eclipsed by the cute professionally printed cards and goodie bags filled with chocolates and toys.
I am grateful to you moms who have your s--t together. But you should know that since my kids make their own, they usually lose steam by the tenth one -- and their not-so-close friends get the short end of the deal. So blame me if your kid is the one who receives not-so- many valentine cards.
Now, let me put on my Doctor of Psychology hat and give you a few pointers on how assuage the injuries my children may unknowingly inflict:
First, know that every emotional experience is a teaching opportunity and a gift. A childhood free from disappointments will leave our kids seriously lacking in coping skills. As with any feeling of sadness or loss, your first line of defense is empathy. Acknowledge and validate the sad feelings. Don't say, "Cheer up! It's only a stupid valentine card." Instead, you might try something like, "Wow. That's a hard feeling to have. Come snuggle with me, my little valentine, and let's talk about it." Then, while you attempt to just sit with your child and understand more about his or her feelings, resist the urge to fix this problem. This isn't the time for a mini-lecture on how to be a better friend or to suit up as protector-Mom and promise to annihilate the enemy kids.
This is a time to soothe, console and remind your child of how lovable he or she is. In my case, I might also use my cynical self to devalue the whole concept of Valentine's Day, but that's me and my bias. As I write this, I stopped to ask my 6-year-old what she would like me to do if she should get only a few valentine cards. In perfect childhood genius, she said, "If I get no valentines, then you need to get me a lot more playdates." Got it, kid. Whip up a social life, Mom.
|Dr. Wendy Walsh holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and her area of interest is Attachment Theory -- a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings. As a psychological assistant registered with the California Board of Psychology, Dr. Walsh has treated individuals, couples and families for a variety of mental-health concerns including personality disorders, anger management, eating and substance disorders and depression. Connect with Dr. Walsh on Facebook.|