NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Growing up, your best friend is the person who is always there for you and the one you share all your secrets and exploits with.
But now there’s a growing movement to ban best friends.
The movement isn’t a ban on friendship, it’s just geared towards having children broaden their friendship circles and become more inclusive.
It’s a move a lot of educators think goes in the right direction.
Rumored to have first started in Prince George’s South London school this push to breakup best friends is catching on, says clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg.
“There has been a movement in some American schools and European schools to ban the phrase ‘best friend,'” Greenberg said. “The idea of banning the phrase ‘best friends’ is a very intriguing social experiment.”
And while it may be raising some eyebrows Greenberg who works with children and adolescents says there’s some good rationale behind it.
“I see kids come in all week long who are feeling dreadful because they are excluded and because they are either nobody’s best friend or their best friend has moved on,” Greenberg said.
The point is to teach children to be inclusive at an early age rather than exclusive, Greenberg said.
“Let’s face it, you can’t ban somebody from having a close relationship, and you can’t really ban somebody from having a best friend but what the schools are trying to do is foster the idea of kids having more than a single friend,” Greenberg said.
Jay Jacobs, who operates Timber Lake Camp, says his counselors have been fostering a more inclusive environment for years.
“That’s what we encourage at camp,” Jacobs said. “I think that there are pitfalls in just having one friend. Remember as you grow up, interests change, children go in different directions.”
He believes having a wider group of friends also sets children up for success.
“You can’t be on the soccer field and just be dealing with one child, they’re going to be interacting with a team,” Jacobs said. “It’s now about promoting kindness, looking to children to be kind to one another and to be aware of what it looks like when you’re not.”
Greenberg is also a fan of assigned seats at lunch, so no child is left alone.