PJ Media

Should kids have a best friend?

a href=”http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/06/17/busybodies-intrude-on-childhood-friendship/”The Anchoress /awonders if “enlightened experts” ever had childhoods after a href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/fashion/17BFF.html?hp”reading an article/a in the span style=”font-style:italic;”NYT/spans on best friends:br /br / blockquote . . . 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?br / …br / “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.”br /br /“Parents sometimes say Johnny needs that one special friend,” she continued. “We say he doesn’t need a best friend.” /blockquotebr /br /The Anchoress thinks that experts are playing the busybody when they try to insert their wishes on the kids:br /br /blockquoteThis 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.br /br /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. The schools want you to think this is about potential bullying and the sadness of some children feeling “excluded.” But that is not what this is about./blockquotebr /br /Frankly, I think telling the kids to congregate in packs could backfire on the helpful (probably liberal) experts who want them together. I don’t think keeping kids in a pack makes them less likely to bully. It seems to make them behave more like feral animals. Given that most kids commit crimes in groups due to peer pressure, it seems unwise to tell them to huddle together. And groups of kids may not always do what the liberal adults want them to. br /br /I read recently in a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00077B7M6?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=B00077B7M6″span style=”font-style:italic;”The Economist/span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=B00077B7M6″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / that in 2008 Austria tried lowering the voting age to 16 and the kids promptly pulled the lever for right-leaning politicians. Kids will find a way to express their individuality, whether the adults want them to or not. My guess is that if a kid wants a best friend, he or she will find a way to get one.