Best Friends: Should Children Have Them?

Everyone can remember having at least one best friend in the course of their childhood, but the question of whether or not the nature of having a best friend is a fundamentally sound one has struck the minds of pupil’s teachers across the UK.

It is a natural process for many youngsters, seeking for companionship whilst undergoing their early steps into education; but there are growing concerns that by having one best friend, it ostracises other children from interacting with them. As such, there are a number of schools that are encouraging their pupils to have many “good friends” instead.

It hasn’t been the first time that schools have given children the “no best friend rule” – in modern teaching, it has become widely acknowledged for tutors to encourage group-playing, rather than tightly-knit bonds.

For many however, the concept of forming special relationships is a fundamentally human process.

Relationships Expert Judi James explained thus: “Children have usually had extensive bonding with at least one parent, so when they first go to school, they are used to being part of a double act, so it’s only natural that they want to seek out a best friend.

“It’s probably a bit of fear and a survival instinct. It makes them feel more secure, it’s easier to face the world when there are two of you and it validates your behaviour, and who you are,” she says.

There are growing concerns for critics and philosophers that the concept of banning best friends will stunt children emotionally, which will consequently mean that they will have little to no understanding of how to cope with future complications. The mistake, they suggest, lies in the fact that an adult’s emotions will differ significantly from that of a child’s.

So is there a science behind childhood bonds?

“If we buy our child a pet, there’s a likelihood it will die, but we want them to be able to form a bond with an animal. We get married knowing it could end in divorce.” James explained, “Yes, a child might fall out with their best friend, they might get jilted, their best friend might move away – but that’s not a reason to keep relationships at arms length. Children have to learn to survive socially.”

Comments are closed.