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School Nanny Staters Say ‘No Best Friend For You’

June 24, 2010

My latest post at NewsReal:

The Anchoress, over at First Things, is one of my favorite bloggers. She has a way of cutting right to the chase, yet in a thoughtful and intelligent manner. Her recent post, in response to an article in The New York Times, is a perfect example of why she is one of my must reads.

The article details the views of “experts” who now say that children should be discouraged from having best friends. That’s right. Best Friends Forever, otherwise known as BFFs, are now bad. I wonder if these so-called experts have any friends of their own, or if they’ve chased them all away with their pious “enlightened” mentality. That, or their super annoying sanctimony.

I think this recent trend of completely arse backwards “studies” may actually be retribution by scientists and alleged experts, for being shoved in lockers, receiving atomic wedgies and all that pointing and laughing.  I used to just giggle as I imagined them holed up in their little laboratories, shiny slide rules glinting under the fluorescent lights, geekily high-fiving each other’s clipboards. However, all these studies and recommendations and such affect me now, because they are causing steam to come out of my ears with anger and that’s really not a good look for me.

From The New York Times article:

. . . increasingly, some educators and other professionals who work with children are asking a question that might surprise their parents: Should a child really have a best friend?

“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that,” said Christine Laycob, director of counseling at Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis. “We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”

“Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” she continued. “We say he doesn’t need a best friend.”

Oh, really? And who are you to tell me what my child needs?

As a mom who home schools her 7-year-old daughter, currently working at 2 grade levels above where a public school would place her, that is one of my biggest pet peeves. I’m so tired of the incessant “But, but — what about her socialization?” I’m sorry, but I thought school was for, you know, education. I didn’t realize that it was social hour. Personally, I prefer to not have my child forced into socializing with whomever a school randomly places her with, all of the exact same age, to boot.

When in life are you ever in a situation where you deal solely with people who are your exact same age? My daughter, Gracie, plays with children after school every day and “socializes” with them at our community pool for hours daily. She “socializes” with children of all ages. Since she’s never been indoctrinated to believe otherwise, she is not intimidated by older kids nor does she look down upon younger kids. They are all just kids to her. And she does have a best friend, an 8-year-old boy named Will. There is nothing wrong with that. The Anchoress correctly explains why schools and the so called experts want you to believe that there is:

This isn’t about what’s good for the children; it is about being better able to control adults by stripping from them any training in intimacy and interpersonal trust. Don’t let two people get together and separate themselves from the pack, or they might do something subversive, like…think differently.

This move against “best friends” is ultimately about preventing individuals from nurturing and expanding their individuality. It is about training our future adults to be unable to exist outside of the pack, the collective.

Bingo. For all their talk of individuality and alternative lifestyles and the like, the left wants nothing of the sort and they’ve extended that agenda to our schools. They do not want free thinkers. They want pack mentality. They don’t want individual freedom. They want sheep.

Well, they’ll have to try with someone else’s kid. My child won’t be forced to conform with the pack and her best friend allows her to be who she wants to be. Unconditionally.

The Anchoress ends by mentioning it’s yet another reason to consider homeschooling. I’d only amend that to say that it is yet another reason why I do home school.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2010 6:42 pm

    Wow, I’m of two minds on this one. On the one hand, I agree with you completely that schools are hostile to individuality and have been, at least since this misguided attempt began to prioritize “social skills” above the Three R’s. This, to me, is where the trolley has left the tracks: A child who can’t tell “you’re” from “your” but is a social butterfly, is worthy of emulation by other kids, and more likely to be promoted to the next class than another child who understands the material but may not be a fountain of conversation.

    The only point I’d really like to make on the opposing side, is that some of these kids who really get stuck up each other’s butts — they do become developmentally arrested. It isn’t healthy. I can kind of see where the educators are coming from. It isn’t a problem you’re apt to recognize if you don’t watch a large number of kids, day-in and day-out. But it is certainly there. Given that we’re going to sacrifice a wholesome education for the sake of these much-coveted “social skills,” then something would have to happen because these bosom-buddies aren’t really developing their social skills. So while I disagree with the process this does seem like a logical next step. Perhaps there’s a lesson there about slippery slopes.

    Also, this is a problem I see in adults too: The length of time during which one has known an acquaintance, is used as a critical factor in determining that acquaintance’s trustworthiness. There are exceptions to this, and for the unprepared it can lead to real problems.

    Still & all, I can’t say I approve of the schools trying to run interference on it, and shape the outcome. It reads a little bit like some of those policies that forbid bullying. It’s a legitimate problem, but it’s part of human nature, and just about anything you can try to solve it is going to be a case of one step forward & two steps back.

  2. macleod permalink
    June 24, 2010 7:45 pm

    Another thing that’s NONE of the government’s business. Some kids need a best friend, some don’t. Some kids find a best friend, some don’t. Just by trying to put the issue in a box, the experts are pushing conformity. The left amazes me because while they preach “alternative” lifestyles and non-conformity, they are all seemingly of one mind– what the left favors is great– anything the left doesn’t favor is BAD!!!! The left seems to be made up of trust fund babies, bored trophy wives, women who don’t understand the purpose of their own plumbing and the eunuchs they dominate. Add in the permanent members of the welfare class and the 24/7 victims club and you get the idea. My kids went through phases of having best friends, and phases of not. They are happy, responsible, well-adjusted professional people, so it doesn’t appear they were harmed either way.
    as a long time physician, I’m used to seeing moronic studies which advocate a certain position, while masquerading as an ” objective” study. As an example, look at the American Academy of Pediatrics now advocating a clitoral”nick” as a salute to all those “peace-loving” muslims out there who will kill you if you don’t agree with them.

  3. June 25, 2010 5:09 pm

    I am not sure how you can have a large group of friends and not have a BFF. I have a very large crowd of friends but I have a small group of who are much closer than the rest of said group.This small group also includes my BFF. The inner-circle have issues and concerns that are similar but are not shared by the crowd. We are naturally attracted to each other, though the larger group is not excluded they do not particularly share our interests. I think Anchoress is right-on!

  4. June 26, 2010 11:20 am

    And what do they care about shy kids who NEED a single best friend to help them be out in the world? Good Lord, if I were purposely kept from my one best friend in elementary school, I’d’ve been miserable.

    And I agree about the homeschool socialization thing. (a) We were told again and again in school that we weren’t their to socialize, and (2) my kids get more socialization than I ever did! (Including my also-introverted nearly-9-year-old.)

    It’s a matter of controlling them, stealing from children what individuality they can. It’s not about two kids who can’t ever seem to separate; that’s up to their parents to decide, anyway – not the school! If it were, they would stop with having them work with other people on projects, or perhaps seating arrangements. But the article specifies that this is a concerted effort to KEEP children separated from their best friends in all activities and to discourage them from even developing that kind of deep friendship. Some kids can thrive with a gazillion friends (and one or two BFF’s), but other kids cannot, and those kids need one best friend who will be there and help them navigate the social world that is, to introverted children, kind of scary.

  5. ttyler5 permalink
    June 28, 2010 6:30 am

    We’ve got to run the Social Planners/Social Manipulators out of our schools!

    Here’s the famous chapter on the early beginnings of the ideology at the root of this mess

    — from Eric Voegelin’s History of Political Ideas, Volume 8:


  6. June 29, 2010 6:21 am

    As I’ve observed elsewhere, this is positively Orwellian. And it’s happening!

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