Call me crazy, but my heart swells when I open my front door to a pile of random sneakers.
I love being that house.
Maybe I’m nuts, but when I look out my window to a yard littered with wiffle ball bats, footballs, bikes, and rollerblades, I get inexplicably giddy.
I just love being that house.
I might shake my head as I dump out abandoned water bottles and soda cans. But I find myself smiling as I walk by the stack of empty, grease-stained pizza boxes overflowing the trash barrel.
We are simply that house.
You may think me out of my mind, but my heart is still content while I travel around the back deck, collecting damp towels by the pool. Even upon discovering single socks left behind (why is it always single socks?).
I’m telling you… I adore being that house.
And it might make me sound batty, but I find comfort in the noise of rowdy boys ribbing each other or the giggles of preteen girls at bedtime.
So, yeah, call me crazy for relishing in the chaos that happens within and around this house.
The house where my kids’ friends come to kick off their shoes, fill their bellies, enjoy each other, be themselves, and rest easy knowing that they are loved within these four walls.
Call me whatever you want, and I’ll take it.
I’ll take all the mess, all the noise, the dirty floors and the shining smiles.
I just love being that house.
The one that always makes them feel at home.
5 Simple Ways to Make Teens Feel Welcome in Your Home
We get it, some people don’t enjoy the noise and mess when a loud group of adolescents invade your space. For some people, it produces anxiety that isn’t worth it.
But if you are looking to make your house the hangout for your kids’ group of friends, here are some suggestions to make your home teen-friendly:
- Snack up: No surprise here. Teens love to eat, and sharing your pantry is the fastest way to their hearts. Try to keep some snacks on the ready for impromptu gatherings and keep the pizza delivery on speed dial.
- Give them something to do: It doesn’t have to be the fanciest game system or a swimming pool. Teens just want to have something fun to do together. It could be a game of bags or a ping pong table in the garage or a karaoke machine. Encourage them to have a tournament or mini-competition. If you’re lucky, they might even have you join in.
- Get out of their way, but have boundaries. No matter what they say, teens like to feel safe and comfortable. While you want them to be the house where they want to hang out, it shouldn’t be because they can do whatever they want or anything illegal. Make sure they know there are rules, and you are roaming around, but try to give them some privacy to let them be themselves.
- Let the little things go. Sure, you just cleaned the kitchen, and now they are messing it up, making their own variation of Ramen. Or maybe they have the music up so loud you feel like you can hear it in the next town. But try to pick and choose your battles, and let the little things go. This might be the only time your teens feel like they can be themselves and have a little fun, so try and keep things in perspective.
- Keep offering. Ask your teens’ friends if they want to stay for dinner or need to refill their water bottles. Tell your kids that they can have impromptu get-togethers no matter how messy your house is. Be the parent who offers their home for pasta dinners or post-dances or Friday night hangouts. Try to connect with those kids any chance you get.