‘My daughter wants to give out class Christmas cards and I’m conflicted because there are 2 sides.’

A lot of us will remember receiving a Christmas card at the end of every school year from a kind fellow student.

They might have had a candy cane sticky taped to the envelope or a hand-drawn doodle on the inside. 

Either way, they were always warmly received and an exciting reminder that December 25 was just around the corner.

For some of us, it's a familiar tradition and a gesture we planned to pass down to our own children, but in a new dilemma shared by a mother online, the tradition has become a complicated situation in her family.

Watch: MM Confessions: Our Weird Christmas Traditions. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

In a post, Christina* asked parents for their advice after her child announced she didn't want to give every one of her classmates a Christmas card.

"My two daughters are in the first grade and when I asked them who they wanted to give cards to this year, I thought they would just want to write one for their main friendship group," she explained.

"But Annie* said she wanted to give cards to her whole class... EXCEPT for one boy I'm calling Billy."


Christina continued, adding she felt conflicted over the situation.

"Annie and I had a chat about why you can't just leave one person from a whole class out – this is being exclusionary rather than inclusive. She ended up making a card for Billy, and the girls handed the cards out yesterday. But today, whilst tidying up, I found Billy's card amongst a bunch of loose papers lying on the ground," she continued.

"I don't THINK Annie purposely left it behind, but I also haven't specifically asked her. The thing is, Billy is a bully and my daughter has never liked him. He's said hurtful things to her, been mean to other classmates, punched his friends and made his teacher cry (you get the picture – and he's only in the first grade!)."

Christina asked parents if they would have made their child hand out a Christmas card to another child who bullied theirs, admitting that she didn't want to exclude a student.

"To leave one child out of the whole class is kinda s**t. They're only six or seven years old," she wrote. 

"Or should I just respect my daughter's wishes and acknowledge that Billy being left out of the Christmas card business is a natural consequence of being a bully (as in, people won't like you because of your behaviour).

"I'm so torn – I want my child to be inclusive of all, but I also want her to feel she's listened to with her wishes."


Other parents shared their own thoughts about the situation, acknowledging it was a tough one.

"I personally would do as you have done and explain it could upset Billy’s feelings but leave the choice up to her ultimately," one mother wrote. "As you said, these are natural consequences of his behaviour and it’s also important to teach your daughter she doesn’t have to be nice to someone who has poor behaviour just because they’re a part of a group she’s in."

Another parent thought it would be "cruel" to leave out another child, regardless of their actions.

"Leaving one child out is awful and is an act on par with bullying. A seven-year-old who is bullying has complex issues going on and needs love and care," they wrote. "Excluding him is just adding to the mental anguish. He will notice he is excluded and he will be impacted."

Mamamia reached out to Carly Dober, a psychologist at Enriching Lives, who said it was not an easy situation to be in as a parent.

"On the one hand, I can understand you don’t want to expose this boy to feeling like he has made your daughter and perhaps other kids in the class feel, and you’re wanting to teach her kindness and inclusivity," she explains. "On the other hand, you can see that she has potentially left his boy's card behind on purpose because her feelings are hurt and she doesn’t want to be nice to someone who doesn't treat her with respect and kindness.


Dober advises all parents who are faced with situations like this to "engage" with their children to get a better handle on it.

"Ask your child what has been going on with the other child. Ask your child if there's anyone else in the class that this boy has been nasty to and how they have managed the situation, and ask your child what she needs to feel confident in managing this situation from you and also the teacher."

"Maybe she just wants to be heard, and maybe there’s more to the story that you aren’t aware of," Dober continues. "We don’t want to undermine our children when they are trying to exert agency, and we also don’t want to reinforce potentially harmful behaviours from other children."

Dilemmas like these are especially challenging, says Dober, but they are important teaching moments for children and their parents. 

"Situations like this can be a significant 'grey' area in which it is possible that, either way, a child’s feelings might be hurt, or they might feel like their needs and wishes were not respected," she explains.

"Consider what elements of this are teachable moments, and always try to centre the rights and responsibilities of your child, as this teaches them that they can trust you – even if you might disagree."

*Names have been changed for privacy.

Feature Image: Getty.

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