Teachers in some UK schools are banning children from making best friends, The Sun reported earlier this week, in order to spare them the pain of losing a friend after a falling-out. Instead, children are encouraged to play in large groups.
“Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey,” the Sun’s Harry Hawkins reported.
“I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together,” she said.
“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,” Sbuttoni added.
“I don’t think it is widespread but it is clearly happening. It seems bizarre,” said Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, who confirmed the bans.
“I don’t see how you can stop people from forming close friendships. We make and lose friends throughout our lives,” he said.
Chris McGovern, a spokesman for the Campaign for Real Education, called the policy “ridiculous” and said the policy was robbing children of their childhood.