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Friendships - thoughts both as Parents or as Teachers

(23 Posts)
BeaLola Wed 19-Mar-14 23:57:28

I have DS 6 who is only child. Goes to local school and doing well. Has friends, is popular but does not have best friend that he is joined at hip with iykwim. Is friendly with both boys and girls.

I am not overly concerned that he does not have bestest friend after all he has years of schooling ahead of him to get one, if he did I may not like
them (!), if he did and they fell out/they moved could be very upsetting or could have distanced himself from. Others in class.

My DH is more concerned , maybe because he was an only child ? He is getting more worried about it.

What do you think and why ?

TIA

Jaynebxl Thu 20-Mar-14 04:41:45

I don't think many children actually have a best friend, do they? Neither of mine do. They habe a few pretty good friends which I reckon is healthier / safer.

stripes1 Thu 20-Mar-14 05:14:08

As a teacher I wouldn't be worried. As long as he plays with lots of different children as you suggest. I think girls of that age are more likely to have a 'best friend' and it often ends in tears when they change 'best friends'!

Hoppinggreen Thu 20-Mar-14 08:08:19

I was worried about my son at preschool as he didn't seem to have the same types of close friendships my daughter had at that age.
His ps teacher told me that while girls tend to walk round holding hands and playing role play games boys tend to just play in tandem or run around together.
He s in Reception now and he is very sociable but his best friend seems to change depending on who he has been playing with that day whereas DD has had the same one for 6 years.

redskyatnight Thu 20-Mar-14 09:22:28

Both my children have several "best" friends (they are Y3 and Y5). I think this is healthy - it gives them a range of different children to play with, gives them options when best friend is away and means they can go and play with someone else when (inevitably) they fall out.

Merefin Thu 20-Mar-14 09:29:01

I think that 'best friend' is a concept that is best discouraged. A good range of different friends is much better ( I mean 2 or 3 not hundreds!). Less jealousy, fewer squabbles, more resilience (if said 'bf' moves away or leaves school etc).

I don't use the term myself and don't encourage it ...for girls especially it tends to come with an under current of ownership and control which can get very out of hand.

(Used to be a primary teacher, got 3 DCs of my own, boys and girls).

kilmuir Thu 20-Mar-14 09:32:52

From my experience boys less likely to have a best friend. I have daughters , they had a 'best' friend but that often caused more problems. I have a 5 year old Ds, we were told at parents evening he was a good mixer, could interact with all the groups in the class. She thought that was a good thing

Laura0806 Thu 20-Mar-14 11:36:01

sounds perfectly natural and healthy to me. I have 2 dd's each with a 'best friend' which is worrying incase they leave the school/ fall out etc esp for dd2 who struggles to make friends and is very dependent on hers ( although its mutual ) . I wouldn't worry if I were you, I think your scenario is better!

MRSJWRTWR Thu 20-Mar-14 13:47:51

I have 2 boys 7 and 14 and both now have groups of about 3-4 'best' friends. DS2 had one best friend from nursery and they were joined at the hip. First choice for either of them to do anything with was each other. Unfortunately, DS2 had to change schools at the end of Y2 and it was very hard on both of them. They still see each other outside school every few weeks and during the school holidays.

Swoosg Thu 20-Mar-14 13:58:21

I wouldn't worry in the slightest. My dd1 plays with different girls at school and pretty much always has done. My dd2 has a joined-at-the-hip friendship. I always had a best friend, so was surprised that dd1 didn't have the same experience - but actually her experience of friendships is really really great. When she gets bored with one set of friends, she plays with the others. Dd2 is also very happy: she and her friend are lovely together but when they argue or one of them is off school, it really bothers them.

snice Thu 20-Mar-14 14:13:20

my son has never had a best friend-he gets on with pretty much everyone and seems to join in with different groups depending on what they're doing/what he feels like doing. I would say in general the boys at school seem to be in friendship groups whereas the girls are in twos/threes and there are significantly more problems with the girls falling out

iseenodust Thu 20-Mar-14 14:22:52

DS age 9 (also an only) never had a best friend before yr5. I asked at school if it was common and the teacher said the boys in the year just mainly played as one group and smaller groups were fluid. I found those with best friends tended to have parents who had been good friends for years so they had grown up together. DS was certainly never bothered by the phrase and seemed more to want a rota so that all the boys in the class come over for tea over time.

ConfusedMummy1 Thu 20-Mar-14 18:39:53

I have a 5year old DD who doesn't seem to have a best friend. I've worried about it before because she is an only child too and I spoke to the teachers a couple of times who said she flits in and out of groups. She doesn't talk about friendships much either but she seems happy enough. The only children she really wants to spend time with are her cousins which is really lovely but they aren't local. I try not to worry about it too much and as long she is happy. The close friendships I have seen at her school at the moment tend to be between children with mums that are very friendly with each other. I have a twin sister so she was my best friend at school, I guess my DD is having a totally different experience to me which is why I was concerned.

MillyMollyMama Thu 20-Mar-14 21:43:49

I too found the children's friendship groups were controlled by the friendship groups of the parents. Children know who they get on with eventually and the parents become more accepting of "outsiders"!

007licencetospill Fri 21-Mar-14 05:13:03

Your DH is being daft. Having a wide range of friends I'd by far the healthiest. Also having mixed sex friends is positive.

My DS is like yours and I'm very pleased about it. It means he is never joined at the hip to some awful child, he automatically plays with who ever is fun/nice/needs support.

Acinonyx Fri 21-Mar-14 10:29:18

I have an only dd and actively discorough the 'BFF' mentality (so rife with girls) although there is usually a favourite in the group. Current favourite is leaving - and we've been through this before. I think it's unwise to depend too much on one other kid.

coppertop Fri 21-Mar-14 10:42:48

Dd plays with different children, depending on what's going on in the playground and who she's been sitting next to in class that day. She's also always keen to be the one chosen to look after any new children.

The girls in her class who have a best friend tend to be the ones involved in disagreements and arguments. Lots of "I'm not playing with you anymore. X is my best friend now!"

AmberTheCat Fri 21-Mar-14 11:41:47

Agree with the others that this sounds healthy, and def nothing to worry about. Both my kids (both girls, age 10 and 6) have generally had about three or four good friends, and usually don't want to single one out as a best friend (they have a somewhat over-developed sense of fairness, I think!). With my older dd in particular, that stood her in good stead when two of her closest friends left her school at the same time. She was upset, but still had other good friends there.

I didn't have a best friend until I was 9. Before then I got along with and played with lots of different children.

I became too reliant on my best friend though, if she wasn't at school for any reason I felt quite lost. And then when she turned on me in secondary school I was distraught.

BeaLola Fri 21-Mar-14 18:02:04

Thank you all for replying - glad to know Im not alone in my thinkng on this.

Lara2 Sat 22-Mar-14 14:17:37

Agreeing with the other posts - young boys have much loser friendship groups than girls. This tends to be better for them when a friend is ill, or moves away, because there's always someone to play with. Girls tend to be a bit more concerned if their friend is away from school. Obviously, a bit of stereotyping there, but generally that's the way it goes.

kimlo Sat 22-Mar-14 14:42:15

dd2 had a best friend at nursery. They fought like cat and dog, and they loved telling on each other but you couldn't seperate them. They were together for 3 years 4 days a week. The problem was when one of them was off the other was a bit lost.

Now they go to diffrent schools. Dd2 isnt bothered by the children in her class, she just plays with who ever. She is very close to the year 6s though, and that's who she plays with at break times, and shes very close to a couple of them. I worry about what shes going to do next year when they leave. I think this has only happened because its a small 90 pupil school so there is a lot of mixing between the years.

Yetsofar Sat 22-Mar-14 21:57:00

Qualified very soon, and in my experience it's totally normal to be a bit 'adrift' with friends, especially so early on. I wouldn't worry if you're not hearing words like 'best friend' or noticing any particularly strong attachment. This could simply be a personality trait, or something that they'll get in to when he's a bit older.
Like you said he's popular and friendly, and BFs can stir up all kinds of rivalry anyway - carry on smile

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