Public Displays of Affection: How to Escape the Hormone Zone


teacher classroom management blog


Public Displays of Affection:

How to Escape the Hormone Zone


It's Spring. So, you're probably seeing way too many public displays of affection in your school. You may feel like you work in The Hormone Zone. Let us help you find a way out. If it is challenging trying to teach and counsel "hormone-poisoned" youth, here are some absolutely terrific interventions to help your teens use their heads instead of their hormones.


Methods to Manage

Teens' Public Displays of Affection

On-the-Job Kissy-Face and Coffee Breaks
When kids debate your site's standards regulating romantic contact, inform them that the standards derive from the work world, not your personal preferences. Advise your youngsters that as soon as business work places commonly permit hugging, kissing, etc., you will too. So, in our part of the world, we tell kids that the very instant that our large employers like Nike and Intel, start offering Coffee and Kiss breaks, we'll do it too. That should cut down a bit on the amount of public displays of affection in your classroom.

Work a Little, Kiss a Little
Ask students to name all the jobs they can successfully do and gaze longingly into someone's eyes while working; there may be none. Ask your youngsters to guess what happens– especially in a bad economy– to people who work a little, kiss a little. Also, ask them to observe for employees involved in public displays of affection in work places, like at a grocery store or restaurant, for example. Again, they will see few or none.

That Other Fire Will Have to Wait
Have your students name the jobs or businesses they may one day wish to do. Ask them to identify the results of kissing, hugging, etc. while working these jobs. For example, what could result from a fire fighter, surgeon or air traffic controller being distracted by romantic activity at work? Have students answer that question humorously by determining what the distracted worker might say when asked to concentrate on work. Elicit silly answers, such as the fire fighter responds with "That other fire will have to wait." Rely a lot on humor to defuse the tension around discussing public displays of affection with less than responsive teens.

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public display affection postersStop the Affection Connection
As you can see pictured in Poster #121, you can give a clear name to your expectations for social conduct. Inform students that your site is a "No-Cuddle Zone", and follow through on that standard of public displays of affection. That very humorous term will be far more effective than more conventional approaches; students will often begin to use the term themselves. To purchase Poster #121 or one of our other PDA (Public Display of Affection) posters, click here.

Teach the Rejection of Affection
Work with both partners who are involved in problematic displays of affection, and give them memorable, crystal-clear standards so that it is hard for students to even begin to claim that they forgot the rules. A very quick, hard-to-forget guideline for social contact at your site: Touch only from the elbows to fingertips, and only after asking.

In Case of Hormone Overdose
Years ago, families reliably taught their offspring what they needed to know about appropriate interpersonal social behavior. Those social skills are not always reliably taught at home any more. You may want to make it your job to teach what the family should have taught. Remember that telling youngsters "what not to do", may not be enough to change the problem social behaviors. Be sure to teach them "what to do" instead. Be sure to cover these social skills that are necessary to stopping public displays of affection: Hand Control, Mouth Control, Distance Control and Clothes Control.


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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.