Just about anything related to little Prince George is sure to get people buzzing—and an unusual policy from his primary school is no exception: Should elementary schools ban best friends?
The young royal began his formal education at Thomas’s private day school in London earlier this year, which resurrected the debate about the institution’s policies on friendships. Or, more specifically, their ban on BFFs.
“These obsessive friendships can be very hurtful for those who are left out of them, and ostracizing is as painful as physical bullying,” a school official told the Telegraph in 2013.
With Prince George now in attendance at the school, British television personality Jane Moore, who lives near the elite school, commented on the friendship policy by saying it’s a way to encourage kids not to pick favorites.
“There are signs everywhere saying ‘be kind’—that’s the ethos of the school,” Moore said on the TV program Loose Women, Marie Claire reports. “They don’t encourage you to have best friends.”
Are there downsides to a BFF ban?
Telling kids to be kind and inclusive doesn’t seem that divisive, but parents around the world have been taking to the internet to voice concerns over any rule or guideline that would discourage school kids from making a best friend.
“There's a policy that if your child is having a party—unless every child is invited—you don't give out the invites in class,” Moore continued.
That doesn’t sound that different from the unwritten rules of many elementary school communities, but the idea of an outright ban on best friendships seems harsh to many parents.
While it may make sense to elementary educators seeking to proactively prevent ostracization due to best friend breakups in middle school, studies show that by high school, having a best friend is good for kids as it predicts better mental health and happiness in young adulthood.
I highly doubt that Prince George’s teachers would tell him (or any other kid) that he can’t be friends with someone. But they might encourage a child to branch out and that’s not a bad thing.
After all, if we want our kids to be able to find that best friend who’s going to get them through high school, then they can’t be singularly focused on the first child they met in kindergarten. Best friends can move away or end up in another class, so it’s important for kids to have the ability to get along with more than one classmate.
As for Prince George, it sounds like a good practice. He’s going to meet all kinds of people during his future duties as a royal, so he might as well start developing the skills to get along with everyone at an early age.