Cliques--you’ve probably heard the word before. You may have heard students say, “Oh, he/she’s in the popular clique. I can never be a part of that group.”
But you may not understand exactly what being in a clique means. And some parents are just so happy their child has a good group of friends that they ignore the signs that the “group of friends” has evolved into a clique that’s nasty to others.
Having friends and socializing in school is an important part of a child’s development and happiness. Fitting in with peers becomes a vital part of a child’s life.
Studies show that as children grow, they begin to develop more advanced interpersonal relationships, and peer approval becomes increasingly important -- often making a child long for the acceptance of a clique.
By definition, a clique is a group of friends that leave other kids out on purpose. A clique is usually run by one or two kids who have been deemed ‘popular,’ and these leaders decide who can be a part of their group and who gets left out.
Cliques usually have rules the members must follow, such as excluding others and not being friends with anyone outside the group.
Not all cliques are bad but in some cases, clique behavior evolves into bullying at school.
There are a couple of reasons why cliques may be formed. Sometimes a clique is formed by children who share a similar interest, such as computers or sports.
It has also been discovered that girls in cliques tend to be meaner and more hurtful to outsiders than boys in cliques are.
However, teenagers can form positive friendship circles.
Friendships are a part of normal adolescent development, and can help children develop a sense of belonging.
In fact, cliques provide a social niche and can boost self-confidence, by helping a child to develop an identity and feel wanted.
Cliques only become a problem when the members start being nasty to outsiders, putting them down through backstabbing, being mean, and in some cases, violence.
It is essential to educate children on the importance of accepting others. Cliques don’t have to be bad, so long as its members know the boundaries that should never be crossed, such as putting others down to impress the group.