Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
Raytheon Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Kids
Cliques are groups of friends, but not all groups of friends are cliques. The thing that makes a group a clique (say: KLIK) is that they leave some kids out on purpose. They form groups that they won’t let other kids belong to. Sometimes kids in the clique are mean to kids they think are on the outside. Usually one or two popular kids control who gets to be in the clique and who gets left out.
Kids may act differently than they did before they were part of the clique. They may even act differently today from how they were yesterday. It can be really confusing.
Kids might form cliques in elementary school or in middle school. Sometimes cliques are made of kids who share an interest in something, like sports or computer games or music. Sometimes the kids in them want to be popular or want to belong. They might say you can only join in if you wear certain clothes, or they might make you feel bad if your mom or dad can’t afford the same stuff they can.
Both boys and girls have cliques, though people who study these groups say girl cliques may be more common. Girl cliques are often meaner and more hurtful in the way they treat girls who aren’t in the group.
If you are on the outside of a clique, it can make you frustrated and confused. Maybe someone who was your BFF last week is now mean to you and won’t sit with you at lunch. It can make you feel like crying or just feel really angry or sad. You might feel lonely at lunch or after school, or even afraid if you feel that someone might pick on you or fight with you. You might be frustrated or upset because you don’t know what to do. You might feel hurt because of the ways other kids leave you out.
One of the hard things about cliques is if a person who was your friend joins one and starts treating you differently. Sometimes, the problem starts with an argument between the two of you. But other times you can find yourself on the outside of a clique even if nothing happened.
Sometimes you get left out because you look, act, or dress differently from other kids. Or just because you’re the “new kid” in class. Kids who get into cliques usually want to be popular and feel cool. Sometimes kids think that belonging to a clique will keep them from feeling left out. Some kids feel more powerful when they’re mean to other people (like bullies).
Kids in cliques sometimes act differently than they would outside the group. They often go along with what the others are doing, even if they know it’s not right — even if it means leaving out a friend.
Some kids might even feel bad about the way they treat other kids, but they can’t figure out how to be cool and still be nice to the person who’s not in the clique. This is no excuse, though. Plenty of kids manage to be nice to everyone — kids in and outside their closest group of friends — without being part of a clique.
Sometimes kids in cliques find that they don’t really want to belong to it anymore. They don’t want to leave others out and hurt people’s feelings. Sometimes they realize they’re missing out on being friends with great kids outside of the clique.
Some kids don’t want to be bossed around by the rules of the clique and don’t like that another kid is trying to be in charge of them. Being in a clique might mean that they have to give up some freedom and maybe even change the kind of people they are or what kind of music they like or clothes they want to wear.
Even if no one is being mean to you personally, you still might find it annoying if there are cliques you’re not part of. Or you might be part of a clique, but are getting tired of being bossed around or worried that your so-called friends will embarrass you or play a mean joke on you. Maybe someone said something mean about you or a friend of yours online.
As kids get older, they can outgrow the need to be part of a clique or feel more relaxed about who is “in” and who is “out.” For some kids this takes a while. Most cliques disappear by the end of high school, making way for more fun and enjoyable friendship groups.
Parents, sisters and brothers, other family members, and teachers can help when someone is being left out or treated in a mean way. They might help by giving you advice on how to deal with mean kids. Sometimes they can teach kids that it isn’t OK to treat others this way and show them ways to stop kids being mean to other kids.
If you or someone you know is being treated in a way that makes them feel angry, sad, or bullied by members of a clique, telling an adult is important. Adults can also help kids learn to play together, include each other, mend hurt feelings, and repair broken friendships. They can encourage kids to make friends and belong to a group without leaving others out. They can show kids how to be popular by treating everyone with respect and kindness.
If cliques are upsetting you, what can you do?
What do kids think about friends and friendship? Hear what they had to say.
Gossiping can hurt someone’s feelings, including yours if people are gossiping about you! Find out more in this article for kids.
You need self-esteem, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Find out what it means to feel good about yourself.
School counselors know how to listen and can help kids with life’s challenges.
Did you ever feel like another kid was trying to get you to do something you didn’t want to do? If so, you’ve felt peer pressure. Find out more in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.