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No more BFFs in schools?

  • Some schools want kids to hang in larger, more inclusive groups
  • Do kids need to be spared the pain of a BFF break-up?
  • Mom: Discouraging cliques will prevent hurt feelings and maybe bullying
No more BFFs in schools?

Best Friends Forever may not be so forever after all.

The bonds of friendship are being closely monitored and occasionally busted-up in the UK, where some schools are instituting de facto 'BFF Bans,' according to Britain's The Sun.

The idea isn't so much about schools taking on the role of some rainbow-crushing, anti-friendship fun police as it about the desire to spare young kids the pain of when these sometimes-fickle friendships fall apart. It's also rooted in a desire for more inclusive, larger groups of friends.

An educational psychologist who told the paper she's witnessed the anti-BFF policy in at least three towns near London says "I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together."

The head of a national teachers' group confirmed the BFF break-ups and expressed some concern. "I don’t see how you can stop people from forming close friendships," he told The Sun. "We make and lose friends throughout our lives."

Right? Whatever happened to "Tis better to have BFF'd and lost, than never to have BFF'd at all"? Or however that goes.

More from the schoolyard: Is homework a giant waste of time?

Back on our side of the playground, some American parents are talking about the benefits of encouraging larger groups of children to play together and not isolating themselves among a small group of their pals.

"You’ll never prevent kids from making 'best' friends. But starting to teach them at a young age that leaving others out can be hurtful might just make some of them stop and realize how their behavior affects others," writes Meredith Carroll on Babble's Strollerderby blog.

"And if that means a few hurt feelings are spared along the way -- and maybe, just maybe a bully-in-training is stopped in his or her tracks -- then I’m all for it."

Carroll writes that she's already seen teachers in her daughter's preschool class take subtle steps to prevent any two or three children from becoming pals to the exclusion of all their other classmates. She says teachers may insist on the budding best friends sitting with other kids at lunchtime or holding hands with another child "when walking with the class in a line."

Which, come to think of it, all seems to make pretty good sense. Because in the unforgiving and awkward world of kids' fledgling social lives, when one friend suddenly drops your hand, well, sometimes it's nice to have another's to still hold.

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