No more best friends?

Becky - posted on 06/17/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )

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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/fashio...

I'm not going to copy and paste the article, because it's 2 pages long, but basically, some schools are discouraging children from having best friends anymore. They feel that having exclusive relationships like a best friend encourages cliques and bullying.

What do you think?

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Amie - posted on 06/17/2010

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I don't believe it. Both through my own experience and my children's at school.

When I was school it was never a pair, it was always a group. Same with my kids school/classes. There is never just a pair that encourage the behavior. There are some rotten turds out there who gravitate towards each other. The older they get, the more apparent it becomes.

Our oldest has a best friend. However she does not attend school with her. She's a girl the same age. She moved in down the street 2 years ago. Since that day her and our daughter are always together every day after school, unless they have extra curricular activities, have ended up grounded or are out of town. LOL! They both love playing with anyone who wants to join in. They've even taken our two middle children outside to play, either at our house or hers. Sometimes our daughter has other friends over, they all play together. Same on the other side.

They are best friends though because they are so similar. They are both outgoing, love to be involved in as much activity as possible, they both have stood up to other children about their bad behavior, etc. I remember one time last summer holidays, all the neighborhood kids were playing together (there's about 20 of them altogether) and a few of them started picking on the younger kids. It didn't take long before parents were involved because there was 4 of them that ran to their houses to get their parents. Our daughter and her friend both after having made sure the others were ok, took them to our house and played in the back yard. The other older kids (I believe they were 11 at the time, maybe 12) had to leave after the incident.

Our son's best friend is a girl. She lives across the street and they've been inseparable since they were toddlers. They've even told me that they're going to get married one day. LOL! It's the same story though, they play well with others, enjoy having lots of kids over so they all can play together, have no real problem with other kids and have helped at school with bullies. (Our son's friend has an older sister with epilepsy, her older brother as well has had an issue lately because he "told on" a couple brats who were trying to pop people's tires in our neighborhood.)

I don't think at all that it encourages it. Everyone needs someone that they can tell everything and anything too. I have a friend like this, though she lives on the other side of the country it's rare that we don't talk at least once a day.

I have other friends as well, it depends on which one we're talking about before I can say how close I am to them and what I'm willing to tell them. Every person fills a certain aspect of our lives. A best friend blushes over all of them. They are the person you know you can trust the most and will always be there without judgment. They will tell you the hard truths and listen to you rail and tell them to shove it. All the while knowing you still love them but you needed it.

With children they use the term best friend too often but as they grow they realize who their best friend is. They don't always need to be together either and have no issues with them (or themselves) having other friends. It's just the person they gravitate to because they have the most in common.

From the cliques and groups I've seen, they all talk amongst each other and about each other. They are not reliable and now that I'm an adult those same people are not often friends anymore. There's a difference between a group of friends and a clique. Cliques are horrible people on the whole. There's always been a distinction in my head between the two.

On the other hand of that is the bullies. The bullies I've seen have little to do with the school life, though it does play a role in it. A lot of it stems from an unideal home life, which reaches over into their school life. They don't know how to handle it and they lash out. There's one in particular in my childrens school now (ties into the above part of our sons friends brother) who knows it's wrong but doesn't care. His parents don't care either. They are lazy! He has been the only child my husband has ever actually chased home. A neighborhood mom and I have gone to his house to let them know what he's been doing. They just don't care, so he gets away with it. It's not exactly neglect since he's fed, not beaten, has clothes, is clean, etc. So there's not much we can do. But make sure our kids know it's not ok to put up with his behavior. He has also had 3 other lil turds who are like him but are his followers. They are nowhere near as bad as this child but are thrilled by the excitement he brings them.

Makes me glad my children get excited about other things.

Sorry it's so long. LOL! I hope I haven't lost anyone in my rambling.

Sharon - posted on 06/17/2010

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Oh man .. well it does. I don't know that discouraging "best friends" is the way to go though.

I have seen this in my daughters kindergarten class through 1st grade. There is always a few children who just don't fit in, who wants to exclude ONE child from a play group, who outright decides to target & ostracize another child.

My daughter doesn't understand why someone would want to do those things. She doesn't like seeing someone left out. She doesn't like being left out. She doesn't like having her bestfriend manipulated.

There are a couple of kids in her class who think its ok to monopolize one child. Eventually that child gets ostracized because they made to look like they were the one snubbing the others.

Its bizarre. My daughter is cheerful and outgoing personality. I love that about her. Her bestfriend is the same way. They love having more people around them to play with. But there are always kids who don't know how to share. child politics....

teachers & parents just need to be aware of bullying and take steps to nip it in the bud. discouraging friendships is stupid.

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Joanna - posted on 06/17/2010

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How can you ban best friends? A best friend is a bond that can't really be explained, so how can you ban a bond like that when it forms so naturally?

[deleted account]

All throughout elementary school and middle school I had a different best friend each year. Best friends differed on whether they lived close by, were in the same home room, who sat next to who, who rode the bus together, etc... I don't think there is anything wrong w/having best friends. I agree that kids throw that word around a whole lot, but that's part of the learning process. I think that the devastation kids have when they do something wrong, betray trust, etc. that these are also important in learning how to differentiate true friendships from being dicked around. It helps teach ppl proper behavior if you want to foster a healthy relationship, etc. I think a better thing to do would be to teach people self-esteem, relationship building tools, communication, etc. Having those tools would help ppl better, IMO.

ME - posted on 06/17/2010

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This is probably true, but you cannot ban best friends...or even discourage them...it just won't work...

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