A best friends ban has been implemented in several United Kingdom schools. The new rule was reportedly designed to prevent children from getting their feelings hurt when the “besties” end their friendship. Not surprisingly, many parents are upset about the senseless new rule. Forcing children to play in large groups will not fix friendship woes.
Although the best friends ban is happening way across the ocean, it would be naïve to think that such a rule could not be forced upon children in American schools. One Maryland school district recently outlawed hugs, classroom treats on birthdays, and handing out party invitations at school if the entire class is not included.
Handing out birthday party invitations at school is not ideal; feelings will get hurt. Even if the cute little cards are sent out through the mail, the children will still talk non-stop about the social gathering in front of students who aren’t invited – same hurt feelings result.
When I was in the fourth grade, an angry mom came to school upset that her daughter was not playing with by her typical group of friends that week at school. Our teacher ordered everyone to play with the girl that day at recess. Problem solved right – of course not.
The girl was not being teased, or “bullied” as it is called today. For a reason I don’t even recall, the very nice girl has just said or done something that angered others that week and was not invited to chat on the monkey bars with the “cool girls” for several. The problem would have worked itself out on its own, and did not warrant adult intervention. Forcing children to play together or apologize forge friendship or prevent even the mere possibility of hurt feelings.
Trying to sanitize our children’s lives from every harsh reality of life is both futile and counterproductive. Learning how to deal with little stumbling blocks prepares children for the hurdles they will face later on. I very distinctly remember my Dad explaining to us at an early age that life wasn’t fair. As a result, we never stomped our feet or threatened to hold our breath until our faces turned blue because of some perceived injustice that blatantly flew in the face of fairness.
Not everyone will always like you and the first place ribbon will sometimes be pinned to another child’s shirt. Learning to deal with failure, sadness, and even success, in the proper way, is tantamount to both a child’s mental and emotional well-being.
Banning best friends, hugs, and birthday cupcakes to prevent hurt feelings gives children the false impression that life will adapt to meet their needs. The number of young adults and teenagers undergoing treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression is shocking.
Young adults battling such conditions have surely always existed; but the number of prescription drugs being administered to teens in recent years has drastically increased. A National Science Foundation study on teen stress revealed that young people often feel stress as “more stressful” and are more activated by a reward system than adults. Overly scheduled lives and wading outside of the adult-monitored increasing politically correct bubble of American schools has a crippling impact on an entire generation of young people.
What do you think about the classroom cupcakes and best friends ban?
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