Pam and Gina. Jay Z and Kanye. Bert and Ernie. These have been the poster-folks for best friends in pop culture. But as many of us know, you find your closest friend during those early school days. Those times might be behind us as many schools across the country are blocking the idea of “best friends.”
The trend took form in England last year at Thomas’s Battersea, the school Prince William and Kate Middleton’s son Prince George attends. The notion of banning best friends is to reduce favoritism and have inclusion within the classroom, Marie Claire UK notes.
‘There are signs everywhere saying “be kind” – that’s the ethos of the school,” Loose Women panelist Jane Moore said in September 2017. She explained how the practice can benefit children who don’t have friends. The school, which her friend’s children attend, also have rules for gatherings outside of the classroom.
“There’s also rules that ban the handing out of party invites unless all children are invited,” she added. “It is reportedly the school’s aim to make every child feel included, and this also extends to birthday parties. There’s a policy that if your child is having a party – unless every child is invited – you don’t give out the invites in class. I think it is quite a good thing as you don’t feel excluded.”
With the idea now being implemented in schools in the U.S., critics are seeing more substantial benefits for banning the term in the classroom.
Published earlier this month on U.S. News & World Report (Jan. 5) psychologist Barbara Greenberg explained how the concept of a “best friend” can be more harmful than adoring. “The phrase best friend is inherently exclusionary,” she explains. “Among children and even teens, best friends shift rapidly. These shifts lead to emotional distress and would be significantly less likely if our kids spoke of close or even good friends rather than best friends. And, if kids have best friends, does that also imply that they have “worst friends?”
She also says it’s important for children to at least have a small circle of friends since it’s reportedly proven to boost emotional morale in an individual. Other studies however, claim that a “best friend” is are good for one’s mental heath.