This One Threat Could Level Your Best Parenting Plan

By Toni Birdsong


Congratulations, parent. You are doing great. You’ve managed to bob and weave with every new app, gadget, and social network that sprouted up this year. You monitored phones, scrutinized online friends and followers, and helped your child navigate a few online storms. You are a pioneer; a trailblazer. Parenting kids even three years ago did not require the digital reflexes that have morphed your DNA to part parent, part ninja.

Now, step away from the cyberspace for a moment and patrol the natural perimeter of your home (like any good ninja would do).

When’s the last time you looked closely at your child’s offline friends? You know—the buddies, the gang—the band of gremlins foraging in your pantry and living on your sectional? These are the peers your child spends most of his or her time with, and the ones who likely influence your child’s online decisions more than you’d like to admit.

It’s natural for tweens and teens to change longtime friend circles as their interests change (and as drama heightens). For that reason, it’s important to get to know the different kids that come and go through your front door, even if they just give you a half-hearted wave or grunt as …read more

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