School Bans Students From Having Best Friends to Avoid Hurt Feelings

Say What!? 48

In today’s edition of what-the-eff news, some British schools have banned childhood best friends. The students have been discouraged from pairing off in primary schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey, to spare the children the emotional pain of breaking up.

Gaynor Sbuttoni, an educational therapist, says, “They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But 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.”

Thank you, Ms. Sbuttoni! That’s some common sense right there. And let’s be honest, with a name like that, she was probably the object of some torment as a child -- and I bet having a close friend helped her deal with it. Kids are mean, man. Best friends help.

Throughout life, there will be some people you just click with, and others that you put up with. Some friends will come into your life for a season, and others will form thicker-than-blood bonds with you. My best friend and I were the only girls in large families of boys, and we often joke that God didn’t make us sisters because He knew our parents couldn’t handle us.

Many people in my life have come and gone … we’ll be close for a while, but then something happens, or we just drift apart, or whatever, and all of a sudden we’re strangers that may or may not exchange Christmas cards. Or we're frenemies. It happens.

Guess where I started learning how to deal with the emotional fallout from friend break ups? That’s right -- in elementary school. In fourth grade I was devastated (devastated!) when my best gal pal became the ‘girlfriend’ of my crush. It may have been the first time I used the B-word. Which was totally inappropriate, by the way, and yes I got in trouble, which brings me back to my point that it’s easier to learn these things as you grow up, rather than being spit out into the real world with no clue how to act like an adult.

I get some rules on exclusionary friendships in classrooms. For example, my daughters’ school has a birthday party policy that if you’re going to pass out invitations in class, you must invite everyone, or everyone of the same gender as your child. That’s fine by me. That’s just good manners. But to say you can’t have a best friend?? Ridiculous.

Kids need to learn how to form relationships with others as they grow up. Banning best friends is a recipe for disaster down the line, when we have a generation of young people with no clue how to develop relationships in a positive way, and no skills for how to handle the range of emotions that happen when one of those relationships falls apart.

There’s enough pain in this world -- let’s equip our kids with the emotional maturity to handle it.

Do you think best friends should be banned?

Image via thejbird/Flickr

behavior, education, elementary school, friends, girls, in the news, boys, kid activities, tweens


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Freela Freela

I seldom agree with you... but I agree with you here. Kids are learning about friendships/relationships. Unfortunately, part of this learning involves getting hurt feelings, getting in arguments, losing friends, making new friends, etc. If we don't allow kids to experience these things, we are going to have one significant mass of emotionally immature adults out there in ten years! I don't think we should permit bullying or general torment from an ex-friend to another child, but beyond that we need to stop policing children's social relationships and let them figure out how these things work on their own.

nonmember avatar kaerae

I think this is why the millennials are the most anxious depressed generation in history. Sure, part is the economy, but a big part is that they were protected from learning how to deal with life's harsh realities while still in the safety of their youth. Their parents, instead of teching them how to deal with failure, disappointment, heartbreak, unmet expectations, tried to just prevent all that from happening, so the kids got no practice. Now they're out there on their own feeling all tese things for the first time, and they're breaking down. This tred needs to change, not escalate.

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

Wow. Can't wait til these kids grow into adults and learn that in the real world not everyone is going to like you, not everyone wants to be your friend... and that's OKAY! It's life! 

Not allowed to hug, not allowed to be "best" friends, and trophies for everyone!! <eye roll> 

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

Oh and I kind of think the birthday party invites for the WHOLE CLASS is ridiculous too! I'm sorry but I can not afford to feed and pay for party favors for 24 kids, nor do I want to have a party with 24 kids and their parents that I do not know. My daughter only has about 3 friends that she really hangs out with and if I only want to invite those three I should have the option. Just my opinion. 


Rhodin Rhodin

You can have a birthday party without inviting the whole class.  Just tell the kids to call it a "playdate" in school.  A playdate with cake and balloons.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

They aren't forcing you to invite everyone. They just don't let kids pass out invitations in class unless they involve the whole class. If your daughter wants to invite three friends, get on the phone and call those three friends' parents.

nonmember avatar kaerae

@MYLOVEBUG - You can hand out invitations to whomever you choose on the public sidewalk just outside the school.

femal... femaleMIKE

This is a goofy  rule. 

Johnny Cirrito

We wouldn't want your precious little one to ever feel anything bad.  Which the most stupid thing I have ever heard! If you don't learn how to work through hurt feelings when you are young, you're in for one hell of a life, probably in prison!

Shannon Bettencourt

 Why don't we just put these kids in bubbles to protect them from everything that may hurt them __ Then release them into adulthood and watch them completely fall apart and go crazy because they can't handle anything at all > How in Gods name did we survive growing up everything we did growing up their banning from these kids !

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