This post: 8 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Open Your Home to Your Teen’s Friends
Remember the days when our kids were young and we had playdates at the house? We knew our kid’s friends. In fact, we knew almost everything about them and we knew their parents. Fast forward a few years and here we are… getting more clueless by the day.
The older our kids get and the more their social life is broadened by school, sports, clubs, work, and friends of friends, the less we tend to know who they’re spending their time with.
Rather than staying in the dark, why not open up your home to your teen’s friends?
As a mom of older kids, I’m here to tell you that the upside of having a bunch of teenagers hanging out at your house far outweighs the downside. Sure, you might have to cover the cost of a few snacks and drinks and deal with the noise, but you’ll be gaining far more in return. Check out these powerful reasons why you should open your home to your teen’s friends.
8 Reasons Why You Should Open Up Your Home to Your Teen’s Friends
#1 You’ll Get to Know Your Teen’s Friends
Some of my kids’ friends they’ve known since pre-school. Others seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Either way, without being too nosy or over-protective I really want to know who my kids are hanging with – especially considering that their friends hold the power to influence my kids perhaps even more than I do.
That’s why I’ll occasionally toss out comments like, “Hey, why don’t you invite your friends over tonight for a sleepover? I’ll spring for pizza and snacks and you guys can hang out in the basement?” Or, “Dad and I are thinking about throwing a few burgers and hot dogs on the grill Saturday afternoon. How ’bout you invite your new friend from work you’ve been talking about?”
Whether you encourage your kids to invite their friends over for a sleepover, a BBQ, movie night or a game (gaming) night, let them know you’re happy to welcome their friends into your home. (Hint: It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Teens are pretty easy to please!)
#2 You’ll Get an Inside Glimpse into Your Teen’s Life
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I have an ulterior motive when I give my kids the thumbs up to invite their friends over. (Shhh… don’t tell my kids.) I’m under no illusion that my kids act far different around their friends than they do around me and that they share secrets with their friends that they might never share with me.
Although it might not be your goal to hover or eavesdrop on your kids and their friends, but you can pick up on a lot of cues here and there (or just “overhear” things) that can give you a birdseye view into your teen’s (behind the scene) life.
#3 You’ll Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Teen By Showing Them You Care About Them and Their Friends
One of the big “upsides” to letting your teen invite their friends over is that you’ll be strengthening your relationship with them in the process. Let’s face it, in a lot of cases, our kids’ friends are their world. To them, they’re not just friends, they’re family. So when we don’t accept their friends, we’re basically saying to our kids, “I don’t accept you and I don’t trust your choices,” which can really backfire on us.
The cool thing about opening our home to our kids’ friends is that we’re telling our kids, “We know you care about your friends, so we want to care about them, too.” And, since we all know our kids sometimes make poor choices when it comes to friends, the closer we are to them and their friends, the more influence we’ll have if we don’t approve.
#4 You’ll Reinforce Your Teen’s Sense of Security by Giving Them a Comfortable Safe Zone to Hang Out
It’s important to note that even if you make your home the coolest hangout house on the block with “perks” like an outdoor pool, techy gaming devices, a ping pong table, and an endless supply of snacks, your teen still may choose their friend’s houses over theirs. And, that’s okay… just keep dropping suggestions to your teen and giving them the freedom to have their friends over.
On the flip side, for some teens, (especially teens who haven’t quite stepped out of their comfort zone yet), their home can be their safe zone and they might actually prefer to have their friends at their house rather than venturing out into the unknown territory of someone else’s house. Either way, make your home a comfortable, inviting (non-judgy) safe zone for your kids and their friends where they can escape from the world and just chill.
#5 You’ll have Peace of Mind Knowing Who Your Teen is With and What They’re Doing
One of the many upsides of opening your home to your kid’s friends is you know who they’re with, what they’re doing and that they’re safe and sound under your roof. And, there’s something to be said for that!
You lose that reassurance when you’re not the “house of choice” and, considering the fact that not all parents share the same ideals when it comes to adult supervision and house rules, there’s a chance you’re putting your teen at risk when they hang at other houses.
#6 You’ll Hold the Power to Be a Positive Role Model in the Lives of Your Teen’s Friends
As a mom who’s always had a revolving door with my kids’ friends, I have always taken my role as “the hangout house” seriously. And, that means being a positive role model. From showing kindness and empathy to exhibiting strong morals and values in my home, I always inherently know that both my husband’s and my words and actions hold the power to influence my kids’ friends in a big way.
The bottom line is, your teenager and their friends are watching us all the time. Stressed out so you get tipsy? They’re watching. Get frustrated so you drop the “F” bomb and start yelling? They’re watching. Start gossiping about other kids and/or parents? They’re watching.
As a role model, you can either be a positive or negative influence – choose positive. You may be the only positive role model a teen has in their life.
#7 You’ll Be Part of the Memory-Making
I’m always surprised when my kids and their friends invite me into their conversations, but I have to admit, I love it. “Hey Mr’s R, what do you think I should do about this guy I like?” Or, “Mrs. R, you’re not going to believe what happened in school today. It was so funny!” To me, it means they not only like me (there’s a “win” right there), but they also trust me enough to share their world and that means everything to me.
I’ve laughed with my kids’ friends, I’ve cried with them, I’ve shared in their ups and downs and loved many of them as my own. The memories we’ve shared are ones I wouldn’t trade for the world. Now that’s a perk you don’t want to miss.
#8 Because Hearing Your Teen Let Loose and Laugh with Their Friends is the Best Sound in the World