This is not an April Fool’s joke. And while some may laugh at it, I actually think they’re onto something.
Some schools are now banning best friends.
At the outset it might seem kind of, or totally, ridiculous. But imagine what else will be eliminated if super-close friendships are discouraged.
Free Range Kids wrote the other day (via The Sun) about schools in England that are banning best friends “so they don’t get upset by fall-outs.” Teachers are instead encouraging kids to play in large groups in an effort to spare kids the pain when some friendships fall apart.
Some argue it’s ludicrous, particularly because it seems impossible to prevent close friendships from forming, not to mention that dealing with pain and loss is an inevitable part of life that kids will need to learn.
But at my older daughter’s preschool they actually do something similar. When two or three kids appear to be growing too close — i.e. playing solely with each other to the exclusion of other kids — they have a system in place to prevent the kids from spending too much time together.
They don’t let them sit next to each other during snack and lunch, and they don’t let them hold hands when walking with the class in a line. They don’t stop them from playing with each other, but they break up the clique at other, arguably critical times (to a preschooler, anyway).
You’ll never prevent kids from making “best” friends. But starting to teach them at a young age that leaving others out can be hurtful might just make some of them stop and realize how their behavior affects others. And if that means a few hurt feelings are spared along the way — and maybe, just maybe a bully-in-training is stopped in his or her tracks — then I’m all for it.
It’s not preventing relationships from forming, but it can teach about how relationships with other, non-“best” friends are important, too.
Do you think banning best friends is ridiculous, or are they onto something?
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