### Why Allowing Children to Participate in Valentine’s Day Activities Might Not Be a Good Idea

LAST week, during my eight-year-old son’s swimming lesson, a fellow mother approached me with a sly grin.

“Could I have your address, please?” she inquired.

“Um… sure. But may I ask why?” I responded, puzzled about her request for my address.

“My daughter is in the same swimming group as your son and she wants to send him a Valentine’s card,” she explained with a chuckle. “She’s chosen five boys to send cards to, and he’s one of them. Lucky him!”

Instead of receiving an enthusiastic response, she was met with my disapproval.

Politely but firmly, I expressed my preference that her daughter refrain from sending a Valentine’s card to my son, indicating that I believed they were too young for such gestures.

“You do you,” I added. “But he’s only eight, and there’s plenty of time for Valentine’s in the future.”

With her ego clearly bruised by my response, she walked away in a huff, seemingly displeased with my differing parenting approach. I, however, remained unfazed by her reaction.

I couldn’t fathom why some parents not only allow but actively promote the involvement of young children in Valentine’s Day festivities.

Love, romance, and intimacy, even in its mildest forms, are typically associated with adult relationships.

Yet, every February, Valentine’s Day seems to seep further into the realm of childhood, facilitated by well-meaning but naive parents.

As a mother of two, I find this trend exasperating and incredulous.

I strongly believe that framing children’s interactions in a romantic context is not endearing, cute, or harmless fun—it’s simply unsettling and inappropriate.

Such practices only contribute to the premature sexualization of children, urging them to mature too quickly when they should be relishing their innocence.

Children should receive love and affection from their families, not be pressured to engage in romantic pursuits prematurely.

Why is it so challenging for other parents to grasp this concept?

Children should be allowed to play, learn, and grow together without the unnecessary emphasis on romantic relationships that Valentine’s Day perpetuates.

Georgina Sturmer, a counselor specializing in family dynamics, shares my reservations about involving children in Valentine’s Day celebrations.

She points out that the focus on Valentine’s Day ingrains the notion that our primary pursuit should be romantic love and finding “the one.”

These messages, absorbed during childhood, can create unrealistic expectations and potentially lead to feelings of inadequacy later in life.

Moreover, Georgina highlights the detrimental impact of Valentine’s Day on children’s self-perception, particularly concerning appearances and societal norms.

Valentine’s Day stands apart from other child-friendly holidays like Easter and Halloween, as it predominantly targets adults, with children now being encouraged to partake in the festivities, blurring the lines between innocence and adult themes.

Since my eldest son began school in 2020, I’ve witnessed a surge in Valentine’s Day exchanges within the school community, ranging from cards and gifts to organized events like Valentine’s discos.

Despite the prevailing notion that these activities are harmless, I beg to differ.

Equally misguided are the parents, predominantly mothers, who go to great lengths to create elaborate Valentine’s Day celebrations at home for their children.

Some parents go as far as purchasing cards, chocolates, and themed attire, all for the sake of social media validation and likes from their peers.

Rather than lavish displays, children crave genuine affection and attention, not material gestures.

Valentine’s Day inadvertently transforms into a popularity contest among children, leaving those excluded feeling dejected and inadequate.

It pains me to witness children who are ostracized or bullied for not receiving cards or gifts, reinforcing damaging notions of popularity and desirability.

Just as Valentine’s Day can evoke negative emotions in adults, children are equally susceptible to feeling left out or unworthy during this holiday.

In my household, February 14th passes by like any other day, devoid of grand gestures or elaborate celebrations.

My husband and I may exchange cards and share a quiet meal after putting the boys to bed, but there are no extravagant gestures or excessive gifts.

For now, I believe it’s best to reserve Valentine’s Day for adults, allowing children to revel in their innocence without the unnecessary pressures of romantic expectations.