There are some things that just happen in school that everyone wishes to avoid. I for one have no desire to revisit the prom or play dodge ball. Some things about school just well, suck if you’re not at the top of the pecking order. Watching our two school -aged daughters, my husband and I often marvel at their confidence level. From eye color to personality, we can pick out where most of their personality traits come from. However, the whole confidence thing that they seem to have certainly eluded us at their age. I think I am more bothered than they are by the developments I have been warned about. It’s high time for cliques, as my oldest gets into the later years of elementary school.
My web browsing has led me to learn that cliques are occurring earlier and earlier in schools. What might have been seen in junior high and high school before, is now commonplace as early as kindergarten as articles in Better Homes and Gardens and Kids Health point out. The experts say that cliques occur as children try to establish their identity and belong. Both girls and boys form cliques. What differentiates them from other friendships is that when children establish them or join them, someone else gets left out. Someone or several people have power, while others do not. In their extreme form, they can lead to bullying and other negative behaviors, as children, desperate to belong, go along with, condone, or lead nasty behaviors to have power and control over other groups of students.
Perhaps cattiness and severely critical remarks over appearance and other attributes is more prevalent with girl cliques, while demonstration of athletic prowess, strength, and perceived coolness is more prevalent with boy cliques. Children and their parents need to know how to positively respond to them. The two previously mentioned articles give good examples to both parties, from both a child’s and parent’s perspectives. There are suggestions on everything from recognizing what is occurring and avoiding being part of or hurt by clique behavior to (as a parent) realizing when and how to intervene in your child’s life to minimize the power and effect of cliques. Meanwhile, I am just glad not to be in a stinky gym with a dumb rubber ball or in an over priced itchy gown, dancing to bad music.