Remember that school chum who was your BFF? Well, children today might have to wave goodbye to that type of friendship as the term ‘best friend’ is being banned in certain schools because it lacks inclusivity.
A psychologist in the US has revealed that a growing number of schools are preventing children from using the term ‘best friend’ over fears that some kids are being left out.
Clinical psychologist Dr Barbara Greenberg told CBS New York that there has been a trend in some US and European schools to outlaw the phrase.
“The idea of banning the phrase ‘best friends’ is a very intriguing social experiment,” she said.
Though Dr Greenberg admits it is difficult not to allow children to maintain close relationships, she explains that the schools involved want to encourage children to have multiple friendships rather than just relying on one friend.
“Let’s face it, you can’t ban somebody from having a close relationship, and you can’t really ban somebody from having a best friend but what the schools are trying to do is foster the idea of kids having more than a single friend.”
Prince George’s school, Thomas’s private day school in Battersea first flouted the idea of a ‘best friend’ ban back in 2013 after announcing that it was encouraging children to have ‘lots of good friends’.
Though there is no official best friend policy Ben Thomas, the school’s headmaster, said at the time that he would support the idea.
“There is sound judgment behind it,” he told The Telegraph. “You can get very possessive friendships, and it is much easier if they share friendships and have a wide range of good friends rather than obsessing too much about who their best friend is.”
“I would certainly endorse a policy which says we should have lots of good friends, not a best friend,” he continued.
Last month, parenting expert Liz Fraser offered her support for a move aimed at discouraging best friendships at primary schools.
Appearing on ‘Good Morning Britain‘ the mum-of-four admitted she never had a best friend growing up and believes the idea will help encourage children to have more ‘broad’ friendships. “It immediately [separates] this friend out as being different from all other friends, which immediately sets you into a mini group,” she explained.
“Some children don’t have a best friend, I didn’t have a best friend, if I did have a best friend I think it’s because no one wanted to be friends with us.”
But some viewers didn’t agree with the whole concept with many taking to social media to describe the idea of preventing children from having one best friend as ‘ridiculous’.
“Schools thinking of banning kids having ‘best friends’ – quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I’ll ever hear,” one user tweeted.
“First, it was this ‘gender neutral’ thing and now it’s ‘Should schools ban best friends?’. It’s actually these adults making these things an issue, when they don’t need to be. Just let them be kids! This is getting stupid now,” another agreed.
But some viewers could see the reasoning behind the suggestion.
“I think best friends can be sometimes bad cause some kids see that as that’s there friend and want them around no one else or it can make other kids feel left out it’s a weird one,” one women tweeted.
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