Best Mates
Why is it so important to some children to have a best friend, and do all such friendships form for the same reason? Can they get in the way of the adults trying to run an out-of-school club? Let us consider some of the rules of attraction
ByAndrea Clifford-Poston, Liz Roberts
Pages 6

In the first eight years or so of children’s lives, their friendships tend to be orchestrated by their parents. Children’s first friends are often the offspring of their parents’ friends and even later on when friendships are formed at school, both sets of parents are likely to know each other. These early friendships are also likely to be lived out in the home in the sense that small children do not go out alone with their friends. Significant changes take place in friendships at the onset of the “betweenage” (pre-teenage) years. Many nine year olds are not only beginning to make friends independent of the family’s circle of friends but are also becoming aware of shades and degrees of friendships. They will understand the difference between, as one nine year old described, “There are friends like with everyone in the class and then there’s special friends that you do things with.” This girl was longing to have “a best friend” and because she didn’t have a best friend she considered herself “Nicky-no-mates.”