I know, teenagers can be loud and obnoxious. But when your kids get into high school and especially once they start driving, it’s easy to lose track of where they are and who they are hanging out with. It won’t seem like it initially, but if you’re lucky for kid’s teenage friends will want to come to your house to hang out. And you can possibly influence this if you try. You’ll know where they are, what they are doing and who they are hanging out with. Think about the alternative.
What do teenagers want when they go to a house with parents present? In a perfect world, the parents would disappear never to be seen. So your goal is to come as close to that as possible while still serving your obligation as a parent and a guardian for the other kids. If they want to watch an action movie on the big screen TV in the family room while cranking up the sound system to get the subwoofer pumping, why not? If they want to play music, dance around and be silly, why not? If they drink all of your sodas and eat all of your popcorn, who cares? They will have their haven to be carefree teenagers. Sure you won’t be able to sleep until whatever curfew you’ve agreed to. But the benefits far outweight the nuisance. Just remind yourself why you are doing this.
Now for your obligations as a parent/guardian. First, you should have a basic set of ground rules that your kid and their friends know. If your kid doesn’t want you to be the one to announce the rules every time the friends come over, then your kid should assume the responsibility for doing it their own way. But the ground rules should be clear and understood. Examples are as follows:
- No alcohol or drugs, period.
- You get to meet any new friend that hasn’t previously been over and introduced.
- If there’s a mixture of boys and girls in the house, bedrooms are off-limits. Only the living and common areas can be used.
- If there’s a mixture of boys and girls while watching a movie, blankets aren’t allowed.
- Hanging out outside is OK until _____ out of respect for the neighbors.
During all of this, you and your spouse can retreat to your bedroom but will want to randomly wander into the kitchen for a glass of water or some other excuse. No need to conduct a full inspection. Just randomly reminding of your presence is usually enough. Otherwise, let them do their thing.
See my other blog posts on parenting here.