School administrators in the US have adopted a surprising strategy for discouraging bullying and social discomfort among young students: say bye-bye to your bestie. The New York Times reported that many teachers and parents prefer to advocate learning and playing in large groups to foster multiple friendships instead of isolated pairing.
Many school officials hope that fueling this multi-friend culture will teach children social skills and help dissolve the bullying that has become an increasingly visible to adults with the rise of text messaging and social networking websites. However, psychologists worry that parents who have adopted these ideals might stunt their child’s ability to form lasting relationships when they get older because they won’t know how handle the more serious emotional issues that come with these bonds.
“Do we want to encourage kids to have all sorts of superficial relationships? Is that how we really want to rear our children?” Brett Laursen, a psychology professor at Florida Atlantic University asked the New York Times. “Imagine the implication for romantic relationships. We want children to get good at leading close relationships, not superficial ones.”
Beijing moms and dads experiencing a different school setting might still want to consider the environment they provide for their child outside of the classroom. Are play dates with one friend enough or would more kids be better? Read the full New York Times article here for more opinions on the topic.