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Pupils BANNED from having best friend to prevent hurt feelings

May 2, 2013 by

Best friends leave other children hurt and isolated, especially among girls

One of London’s top prep schools has brought in an unofficial ban on ‘best friends’ in case other children are left hurt and ostracised.

Pupils at the £4,500-a-term Thomas’s private day school in Battersea should instead have ‘lots of good friends’ to maintain harmony in the classroom.

Headteacher Ben Thomas believes that having best friends leads to possessive relationships and more tearful fall-outs at school.

Concerns: The head at Thomas’s private day school in Battersea, London, believes that having best friends can be damaging for young children

Mr Thomas maintains there is no official policy on the matter, but some parents claim they have been told their child should not have a best friend.

‘There is sound judgment behind it. 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,’ Mr Thomas told the Daily Telegraph.




‘I would certainly endorse a policy which says we should have lots of good friends, not a best friend. I would be happy to make it school policy, although it would need to be age-appropriate.

‘By the time they are 11, 12 or 13 they are making up their own minds. But when they are aged between four and ten, it would be helpful for parents, teachers and children.’ 

Mr Thomas said that the problems linked to having best friends were particularly problematic when it comes to young girls.

They often have ‘triangle’ friendships where one child ends up being left out and upset.

Critics: Experts say that it is impossible to stop children choosing best friends and that it is important socially for them to deal with emotional knocks

Critics: Experts say that it is impossible to stop children choosing best friends and that it is important socially for them to deal with emotional knocks

The issue of banning best friends has been discussed by teaching experts, but critics are warn it is preventing youngsters from learning about the ups and downs of life.

Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni, who provides counselling for children in London, said at a conference last year that teachers should not be interfering with friendships and that it is natural for children to want a best friend.

‘If they break up, they have to feel the pain because then they’re learning to deal with it,’ she said.

‘As parents, we’re all trying to prevent our children feeling pain, but what we should be doing is helping them bear it and find solutions, rather than trying to take it away.’

Judith Mortell, also an educational psychologist, told The Sunday Times some schools view the policy as a waste of valuable curriculum time, while others see it as part of a holistic approach to eduction.

National Association of Teachers general secretary, Russel Hobby, added: ‘I don’t see how you can stop people forming close friendships. We make and lose friends throughout our lives.’

via Pupils at £14,000-a-year primary school are BANNED from having best friend as headteacher tries to prevent hurt feelings | Mail Online.

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