Some primary schools are said to be trialling a ‘no best friends’ policy, encouraging kids to play in larger groups instead, according to the Sun.
Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the approach has been tried in Kingston, South West London and Surrey, reports the Sun. Gaynor said, “They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend.”
Those who support the move believe that by encouraging children to play in larger groups, they’ll be more open to learning about people from all walks of life.
But, as Gaynor pointed out, “It is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”
Speaking to psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos on the BBC Breakfast Show, presenter Bill Turnbull asked, “Isn’t it social engineering?” Dr Linda said the message wasn’t to avoid having best friends, but rather to learn that you can have many different types of friends. “I tell my daughter it’s nice to have someone you can tell all your secrets to, but I also tell her it’s nice to have those friends you want to play hockey and rounders with,” Dr Linda explained.
Chris McGovern, from The Campaign for Real Education, added, “Children take things very seriously and if you tell them they can’t have a best friend it can be seriously damaging to them. They need to learn about relationships.”
Do you think it’s important to make best friends (and lose them) from a young age? Or is this move a good idea? And if this kind of policy exists at your child’s school, we’d love to hear how it works…