No More BFFs: Schools Intervene
Educators, psychologists argue over what's healthier
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2010 12:06 PM CDT
School officials, worried about cliques, are trying to break up best friends.   (©Quinn Dombrowski)

(Newser) – Remember your childhood best friend, the person you shared secrets and slumber parties with? Your son or daughter might never have that experience. “Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend. We say he doesn’t need a best friend,” one counselor tells the New York Times. Groups of friends, instead, are encouraged—because educators and other professionals are concerned about exclusivity and bullying.

Schoolyard disagreements that used to take place out of teachers’ sight have evolved into nasty text messages that often prompt school officials to intervene in relationships. One camp even has “friendship coaches” to encourage children to get to know everyone—and pairs who seem too reliant on one another are often broken up. Psychologists, however, are concerned. Says one, “We want children to get good at leading close relationships, not superficial ones.”