This article is by Renae, Maria Elena, Bridget and Sofia, the writers of the Ask A Teen Column where readers can write in to ask our teens for advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org for your question.
“My friend, who is on council with me, has a question and I was hoping you could offer advice. Recently, her daughter found out that two separate groups were formed in the grade 6 going on 7 class. One group is the BFFLs and the other is BESTIES. This mom believes that BFFLs are absolute best friends in a special group. The BESTIES is another similar group. Now, there are two boys who are being left out of both groups. They are not “cool” enough to be in either. They are actually considered ‘outcasts.’
This mom is shocked over the behavior of these tweens. Can you offer any advice over this and how she can protect her daughter?”
First off, I’m glad you are asking other resources to help you, this is one step to becoming a radical parent!
I think that these “cliques” exist everywhere, some will eventually just fade away, but some will “rule the school”. No matter what grade you are in, there is definitely always cliques and some students handle this differently.
I think the decision is up to the daughter, some advice i can offer for her is that as a tween and teen you often have to deal with cliques, don’t automatically assume this is the group you want to hang around with. Some cliques can have bad influences on you, so I suggest the daughter hang out with people she is comfortable with and people she can rely on, rather than just trying to fit in with the popular crowd. If the daughter feels that these groups are people she would love to be with, then she should defiantly take the initiative and start a conversation with one of them, but don’t only do it to become popular; your middle school years are all about having fun and you should spend time with your true friends.
~ Bridget is a 15 year old from Austin, Tx. She has a passion for writing and aspires to be a journalist when she’s older, when she’s not writing you can find her listening to her ipod or at a concert!
Oh, the cliques, the unavoidable evils of the middle school years. There is always going to be cliques, there’s just no way around it and eventually every kid will have to face them, but they will survive. Unfortunately, for your daughter, there are these two groups that have decided that they are “better or more important” than the other kids in school. But, you must also make sure that your daughter knows that there are plenty of other kids in school that are not in those cliques as well. Instead of your daughter getting her feelings hurt, she should find new friends or stay close with her current friends. Obviously these groups are started by kids that are insecure and want to feel above others, and your daughter does not need to be a part of these groups. If your daughter surrounds herself with positive people and productive activities she will not feel left out at all, if anything, the people around her in the cliques will feel left out after seeing her succeed. Tell your daughter to have confidence and to keep her head up high and always remember that she is a better person.
~Sofia is a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA. She loves the beach, shopping, and enjoys studying psychology because she would like to become a psychologist when she is older.
Behavior like this happens every day and at every age. They’re 12 or 13 and experiencing it and I’m 17 and STILL I witness it in high school! There really is no way to protect your child from a situation like that. The best way to help your child in that situation is to talk to them about setting a good example for others by talking to everyone, no matter what “group” they’re in. Tell them that they don’t need to shun other kids to be cool, but to accept and include them because that is the right thing to do. Use this as an opportunity to talk to them about peer pressure and how they don’t need to change who they are or what they do to fit in to either group. Don’t use the saying about “if all of your friends jumped off a bridge,” talk to them as an equal because it shows that you’re really concerned and care. A German writer, Franz Kafka, once said, “Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.”
~Maria Elena is a 17-year-old from Wilmington, DE. She enjoys dancing and cooking and her favorite subject is Math because she likes solving big equations.
I think it’s natural for young teens to go through this process. They decide who and what is “cool” or not. You need to let them know that leaving kids out of social activities is hurtful which is “not cool.” Having clubs in school is something I think would actually help kids learn what is socially acceptable. Making friends early is very important to tweens later on! Sixth and seventh grade is where kids start learning which qualities they like in people and which they don’t; picking and choosing who would be a good friend or not. They also will soon learn that just because you’re not friends with someone doesn’t mean you have to treat them as an outcast. If I were in that situation, I would let my daughter know that she should try to get along with everyone. She doesn’t need to be in either group to have friends.
~Renae is a 16-year-old from Lowell, MI. She is a creative individual who spends a lot of her time reading and learning Japanese because she would like to become a Journalist in Japan.