It’s the first day of summer, and it’s getting hotter by the day. Tension usually increases with the temperature because we become a lot more irritable and I want you to enjoy your home this summer, so I’ve got a challenge for you. After all, your home should be a safe place where you and your family can find the love and fulfillment this world so often withholds from us. Can I challenge you to open your home up to your daughter and her friends this summer?
I know that may have stirred some intense emotions or, at the very least, a look of concern and worry that I don’t know anything about tweens and teens. Yes, I know that I mentioned I want you to enjoy your home so that it’s a place of refuge and inviting a group of tweens and teens over seems like the opposite of that, but stay with me for a minute. It’s true: groups of kids eat a lot of food, show very few signs of gratitude, make loud noises, and talk about stupid stuff which all take away from your happy place (unless you’re a kid), but it may be better than the alternative. What’s the alternative? A silent, sulking teen with an attitude who complains about how she has nothing to do and you are so unfair is the alternative, and this definitely takes away from your happy place. Sure, she may go in her room and stay there all day, but are you aware of what she’s watching on the internet or who she’s talking to? Just because she’s in the house doesn’t always mean that she’s safe.
Please remember what it felt like to be a tween or a teen out for the summer. It can’t have been that long. It was boring! Unless you had a lot of camps to go to and tons of friends in the neighborhood, there was nothing to do, and going over to your friend’s house (no matter how far away) was the only thing you wanted to do. Things haven’t changed that much, but questions probably arise in your mind such as:
“What do you do over there?”
“Why do you want to go over there all the time?”
“What can you do there that you can’t do here?”
“What do you talk about?”
I’d like to share that there is a way you can learn the answer to some of these questions, but it’s going to require you to get involved! Open up your home to your daughter and her friends. It doesn’t have to be every day, but opening up your home and laying a few simple ground rules will help open up the conversations between the two of you so that you feel invited into her life instead of just a bystander, nervously watching and waiting to see what the outcome will be.
- Decide how often she will be able to invite friends over and what chores she needs to follow or rules she needs to keep in order to invite friends over regularly.
- Agree to guidelines that the doors will remain open so that you can travel in and out or keep an eye on them easily and that she should expect your participation.
- Require her to contribute a certain amount of her allowance (if she gets one) or complete a few extra chores to keep the refrigerator and cabinets stocked with sweet treats for the group.
- Discover how to have fun together as mother and daughter and don’t feel the need to judge her conversation and correct everything she says.
Before you know it, your home really will become a safe place, full of love and fulfillment for everyone. I’ve seen it done. Trust me. There will be hiccups and you’ll have to do other things as well to guide your daughter, but consistency wins in the end! Work at it, knowing it’s not only possible, but it’s worth it! Are there other tips you’d like to share? Our community will be better for it! Drop them below.