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The Dangers of Cliques

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

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I was honored to be invited by Jessyka Coulter, CEO of Ace Cookie Tutoring, to participate this month on her online event called "Love to Learn." She assembled over 25 experts in the field to discuss every aspect of a child's teenage years.

My interview was called "Teaching Teens Core Values Is as Important as Teaching Academics." One segment of the interview centered around the difference between friendship groups and cliques.

A friendship group is simply a group of friends who like each other. A clique is the same. The big difference is that the clique does not readily allow others to join and often exerts control over its members. While friendship groups can be healthy and made up of people who share common interests, a clique can be something entirely different. A clique is a group of friends that often has the following characteristics:

1. Extreme control over the members of the group ("We only wear brandname clothing.")
2. Strict rules about who is allowed into the group ("We don't hang out with people like THAT.")
3. Inflexible exit from the group ("If she hangs out with THAT girl, we're not going to be friends with her.")

It's important for parents and educators to help teens recognize the cliques in their school. Teach and model for teens to integrate all students and form new friendships. Help them learn how to communicate in a positive fashion with people outside of their friendship group.

What is really so wrong with being in a clique? Because cliques are so exclusive, they can be very restricting. In the "real world", or life after high school, your children will have to communicate with many different types of people, especially at work.

Helping children learn the importance of talking and being friendly to people in different groups at school can help in the future. Plus, they may just make a new friend in the process!

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