by Cheryl Jackson Friday September 7, 2007

Our first show of the season explored the importance of friends in your children's lives. We talked about how friends influence your child's behavior, learning, and happiness.

We also got some great advice for parents about how to help your child develop healthy, positive peer relationships, and what to do if you're worried about them getting in with the "wrong crowd". You can hear what our experts said here.

When your kids are as old as mine are, you realize how important it is to think about this when they're young.

My kids are teens and pre-teens, and my husband and I have definitely been pushed to the back seat by friends. I think we're a very close family, and I know our kids love us as much as we love them, but they really love their friends too, and right now, spending time with friends is very important to them.

It's not an easy place to be, for parents. We still think of them as "ours". We take care of them, cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, driving, driving, and more driving, and then they're off - with their friends. Or at our house - with their friends.

According to the experts, this is all good. This is what we strive for. My kids have great friends, and they learn a lot about life from them, things they probably can't learn from me. I think they've chosen wonderful people to spend their time with, and from what I see, they're respectful and generous with each other, and they have fun! So I'm happy for them - even if it means I'm not the biggest part of their lives anymore.

I'd like to hear how you feel about your child's friends. And about your role as a parent, when friends seem to take over your child's world.