To mark National Best Friends Day, we thought now would be a good time to talk about being aware of who your child’s friends actually are. Your child spends a significant amount of their time at school, surrounded by peers, and hopefully, friends. But who are these people that your child is around so much?
It is commonly thought that peers shape a child’s behaviour more than parents do, partly due to a desire to fit in and be accepted by their peers. Parental love and acceptance is generally viewed as unconditional; it would typically take a lot to properly damage a parent-child relationship. Peer relationships are a little different, and can be much more fragile, particularly in the precious pre-teen and teenage years.
Children tend to modify their behaviour, their hobbies, and even how they speak in order to create and maintain positive relationships and be accepted within friendship groups. This often involves putting daily effort into their appearance, skills, interests, and sense of humour in order to stay relevant to their peers and keep up with current trends. While your kids may complain if you seem too involved their friendships, it is important to maintain a presence in your child’s life. With this in mind, don’t you think it’s a good idea to get to know your child’s friends?
Now that social media is common place, and the internet offers constant remote communication, so it’s not just your child’s schoolmates you need to consider. Social media opens up an infinite network of people your child could be talking to, meaning an infinite network of potential influencers.
Online Them is a parental monitor which provides a way for you to monitor your child’s social media, and offers real-time rankings of who your child is interacting with the most (updated daily) as well as allowing you to see any conversations that have been flagged as potentially risky such as swearing or adult language, including who these conversations were with.
So what do you do if your child is speaking to someone, or worse ‘besties’ with someone that you think is a bad influence, bullying, or even a true risk to your child? The number one priority for you should be to communicate.
Check our Parenting.com for some great anecdotes here
Happy National Best Friends Day!