Interventions to Prevent Public Displays of Affection: School Isn’t Just for Dating Anymore


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School Isn't Just for Dating Anymore
Interventions to Prevent Public Displays of Affection:



If your students believe that your site exists just for dating purposes, we've got some delightfully different, unusually effective interventions that you may want to use right away.

If you are tired of the constant public displays of affection (PDA) that don't belong in a school or agency setting, our new interventions can help. Because these new methods rely heavily on humor, they may work much better than conventional approaches.


Methods to Stop

Public Displays of Affection in School


This Just In! School Isn't Just for Dating Anymore

display of affection poster 120 If every day at your site feels like date night, this funny handout will prompt discussion about PDAs.  It's Poster #120.

After reading through the handout text with your group, start a discussion of the role of your site.

Assist students to identify the mission of your site. Aid the group to notice that your goal is to prepare youngsters for the future, not for date night.


You're Not at the Movies

social skills poster 118When adults confront students about inappropriate displays of affection, students often become angry, argumentative and disagreeable.

The best way to avoid that type of reaction is humor.

This funny resource can provide that humor. It's Poster #118.

To avoid some of the arguing, emphasize to students that you are only concerned about "the right time and right place" for dating activities, that you are not against dating activities in the correct setting. Assist students to determine that the cinema is an appropriate setting but your site is not.


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Exit the Hormone Zone

pda poster for school 121It's not even close to spring but you may already feel like you work in the Hormone Zone.

Conventional, straight-forward interventions may not help the situation. Give this humorous alternative a try instead.

Label your classroom or group room a No Cuddle Zone.

You can have students create signs to warn all who pass through the door that they've entered a No Cuddle Zone. Our Poster #121 can provide an example.

But Everyone Does It

One of the most common excuses students offer for engaging in PDAs is that "everyone is doing it too". That's hardly true. Help your students discover that for themselves.

Here is a most engaging and provocative way to convey that reality. When students say that "everyone else is doing it," ask students if their parents act that way. Most students groan and say they would never want to be around their parents acting like that.

Once students have that insight, turn the tables on them, and note that parents, siblings, peers, teachers, and many others prefer not to watch students' PDAs every bit as much as students prefer not to watch parental affection.

Be sure to use this intervention very carefully as it could unintentionally strike a nerve in children with family problems. This intervention should be done with great lightness and lots of humor to avoid that.

An important tip to avoid problems: Rather than have children think about their own parents, have them think about parents in general. Unless you are 100% sure that you can use this device successfully, skip it entirely. If you want to use this strategy without risk, change "parents" to specific other adults like pilots, plumbers, or cashiers, and have students identify if these adults are engaging in PDA on the job.


Work Place Kissy Face

Students are often quick to assert that your site's rules regarding PDA are unrealistic, outmoded and out-of-date. When students make that claim, reply that they might be right.

Next, note that since your job is to prepare students for the real world, all your rules mirror the major employers in the region. Ask students to identify major employers in the region and their standards for PDA.

Students will quickly discover how few work sites permit dating activities during what is supposed to be work time. Be sure to conclude the discussion by noting that as soon as the biggest employers in your region schedules daily Coffee and Kiss breaks, your site will too.


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About Ruth Herman Wells

Author/Trainer Ruth Herman Wells, M.S. is the director of Youth Change Professional Development Workshops. In 2011, Ruth was rated as a Top 10 U.S. K-12 educational and motivational speaker by Speakerwiki and Speakermix. She is the author of several book series, a columnist, adjunct professor for two universities, and a popular keynote speaker and workshop presenter. Ruth's dozens of books includes Temper and Tantrum Tamers and Turn On the Turned-Off Student.


  1. […] One of the most significant issues that educators have been having in recent time is how to handle public displays of affections (PDA) between […]