Some schools are discouraging close friendships in the hopes of preventing bullying, wrote Diane Peters in TodaysParent.com Jan. 26:
It’s not that concerned educators are “out to get” best friends. But they are trying to nudge close pals apart a little bit, so that they don’t become too insular. Twosomes can turn into threesomes, and such cliques are often behind bullying. “When three or four kids get together, they can decide someone is not good enough to join their group. They can ramp each other up to do worse and worse things,” says Debra Pepler, a psychology professor in York University’s Faculty of Health, who is an expert on bullying and helps to run PREVNet.ca, a bullying information website.
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Just as adult relationships aren’t always healthy or turn sour over time, kids can also get wrapped up in negative dynamics. Pepler says some close friends actually bully each other: they know each other’s secrets and can make a pal upset with a few choice words – whether about chubby ankles, a crappy slapshot or that time he wet his pants last year.
Pepler is a core member of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence & Conflict Resolution.
Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer.