Friends and Play

Been mulling this one over a bit. I’d seen Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux weigh in on this, the latter, as usual, at great length:

So, OK.

Molyneux has also mentioned a number of times how daycare culture, and leaving your kids behind a few hours a day, has the same emotional impact on them as abandoning them. He’s repeatedly noted that the clingy, needy, narcissistic, affirmation seeking (not merely attention seeking , though they’ll take bad attention too) generation we have now maps to the rise of children raised in daycare centers, above and beyond being sent to Kindergarten, etc.

There is of course the old saw about how helping a butterfly out of its cocoon is a veritable death sentence because without the struggle of escaping, the wings don’t properly grow out. Yeah, this was originally related to me by a SJW-lite parent of the blackhawk persuasion, hovering over her ego extensions to protect them from any and all harm.

For those who haven’t already seen the stories, there’s an article in the US News headlined “Should Schools Ban Kids From Having Best Friends?“. GIven it’s the mainstream media, the answer is as predictable as the worldview of a TED talk.

So, what do I, as a psychologist, think of this trend where schools are banning best friends? I have thought about it long and hard, and I say bring it on. Let me tell you what brought me to this controversial conclusion.

I am a huge fan of social inclusion. The phrase best friend is inherently exclusionary. Among children and even teens, best friends shift rapidly. These shifts lead to emotional distress and would be significantly less likely if our kids spoke of close or even good friends rather than best friends. And, if kids have best friends, does that also imply that they have “worst friends?” A focus on having best friends certainly indicates there’s an unspoken ranking system; and where there is a ranking system, there are problems. I see kids who are never labeled best friends, and sadly, they sit alone at lunch tables and often in their homes while others are with their best friends.

Think back – we all know what it’s like, or most of us do, to have that one kid nobody likes that parents make you invite or play with anyway – and how, despite the preaching of ABC after school specials, it usually turns out to be miserable.

I want to submit something else.

I want to point out that we’ve already de facto begun banning best friends, friends that children choose, and children learning to negotiate at an appropriate age at the playground, etc.

Ever heard of “Play Dates?”

Play dates have become common because the work schedules for busy parents, along with media warnings about leaving children unattended, prevent the kind of play that children of other generations participated in. Play dates are also arranged by destinations that feature child-friendly programs like museums, parks, or playgrounds. The intention of a play date is to give children time to interact freely in a less structured environment than other planned activities might provide.

Yeah. Note: while it may be less structured than a school outing, who actually sets these things up? Especially at early ages?

The moms.

Why are they done this way?

Because the moms don’t want their little ego extensions running around where they might get mommy’s feelings hurt.

Yes, I’m being uncharitable. Most mothers do care about their kids, and really just don’t want to have their kids get hurt, but don’t have the trust, like my own generations parents did, to let them run around the neighborhood. Thus the backlash known as “free range” parenting. It really is a case of the intolerant minority changing society to the point that most otherwise sane mothers wouldn’t let their kids step outside the yard without being in eye and earshot. And the not sane ones? Yeah, no boundaries, and the little ones are an extension of their ego. I do feel sorry for them because I’ve seen on occasion what happens when the kids start getting their own personalities, if they escape being BPD or codependent.

Don’t get me started on some of the other urban dictionary definitions – where it’s more about the mommies networking (or getting some) than about their kids.

Again, while a responsible parent should keep an eye on their children’s friends and acquaintances, this is the parents already choosing who little Johnny’s circle of available friends should be, and extending their circle of acquaintances, or not, whether they like it or not.

And we wonder why, despite some sensible outrage at this article, anyone would even imagine it’s rational or reasonable to write such a thing?

 

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