A rather bizarre trend is gaining traction in schools across Europe and the US. It began with the South London school attended by Prince George but has since become popular among educators who believe it could help address exclusion and isolation in the playground. The new rule sweeping across schools bans the phrase “best friend”.
The reasoning behind the rule is to prevent children from relying on just one friend. A clinical psychologist Dr Barbara Greenberg spoke to reporters about the rule and had this to say:
“There has been a movement in some American schools and European schools to ban the phrase ‘best friend.’ The idea of banning the phrase ‘best friends’ is a very intriguing social experiment.
“I see kids come in all week long who are feeling dreadful because they are excluded and because they are either nobody’s best friend or their best friend has moved on.
“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.”
Schools ban term ‘best friend’ to prevent other children feeling left out https://t.co/9vzclVYukc— Metro (@MetroUK) 14 February 2018
Another educator told reporters,
“That’s what we encourage at camp. I think that there are pitfalls in just having one friend. Remember as you grow up, interests change, children go in different directions.”
“You can’t be on the soccer field and just be dealing with one child, they’re going to be interacting with a team. It’s now about promoting kindness, looking to children to be kind to one another and to be aware of what it looks like when you’re not.”
Your best friend is the person who is always there for you and the one you share all your secrets and exploits with. But now there's a growing movement to ban best friends. https://t.co/JW4KbrZTbm— CBS New York (@CBSNewYork) 13 February 2018
However, not everyone agrees. Readers online have pointed out that rejection is a normal part of life as are fading friendships. It may also not be helping children to teach them to focus on large groups of friendships at an early age, when many users pointed out that longer and deeper friendships with fewer people are often those that last the longest and help the most.
Despite this, the ban on the phrase will be moving ahead in a number of different schools although it will be seen if it actually produces any positive effects.