How to Create a Home Life Your Teen Actually Wants to Come Home To

13 tips to make your home a safe haven for your teen (and their friends)

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: How to Create a Home Life Your Teen Actually Wants to Come Home To

The minute our kids hit their teen years, it seems they’re off and running…

Between school, sports, their part-time job, and spending time with their friends, they’re just not at home as often as they used to be. As a mom, I found myself missing my kids terribly.

That’s why I decided to make our home the one place in my kids’ world where they would feel loved, accepted, and safe. A place where they could chill out and escape from it all. A place where they actually wanted to be. And a place where they were excited about inviting their friends. Here’s how to create a home life your teen actually wants to come home to.

How to Create a Home Life Your Teen Actually Wants to Come Home To


1. Strive for Harmony in Your Home

Your teen needs a soft place to land. They need a little peace and privacy when they walk in the door after a long day of school, an exhausting practice, or a busy shift at work and know that home is their safe haven. Of course, your home can’t and won’t be harmonious all the time (chaos has a way of creeping in, at times), but the more you can create a loving, calm, and comforting environment, the more your teen will not only want to come home, but they’ll also look forward to it. 

2. Be the Parent Your Teen Needs

The world can be a pretty harsh, demanding and exhausting place for a teen who’s trying to find their way. Be the steady in their storm by giving them what they need – love, support, guidance, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, and being their biggest cheerleader. Make sure they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that your love is unshakable. (Be sure to let your guard down, too. Laugh, have fun, and get goofy with your teen. Your teen needs more “silly” and a whole lot less “serious” in their life.)

3. Make Their Bedroom Comfortable and “Hangout Friendly”

Your teen’s bedroom isn’t just where they sleep, it’s where they do homework, regroup after a long day, hang out with friends, get away from the stress of “teenagering,” and, well… contemplate life.

That’s why it’s so important to let your teen make their bedroom “their own.” If they want to paint their walls hot pink or a pukey green color, let them. If they feel like hanging 12 posters of their favorite band or celebrity all over the walls, let them. Sure, you might have a few restrictions on what they can’t do, but give them as much freedom as possible so their bedroom fits their vibe and feels homey to them. 


4. Keep Lecturing, Nagging, and Interrogations to a Minimum

Nothing can drive a teen away more than being constantly nagged (about their messy room, getting their homework done, or not doing their chores, for instance), or being lectured or interrogated when they walk in the door. Every parent is guilty of it from time to time (after all, our goal is to guide and protect our kids, and we are human). But if we can focus on keeping negativity to a minimum, our kids will be far more likely to want to come home and share their lives with us. 

5. Say “Yes” to Friends

I get it…the chaos of having a bunch of loud, messy teenagers hanging out eating you out of house and home might make you cringe. But I’m here to tell you the upside of having teens at your house far outweighs the downside.

You know where your teen is and that they’re safe. You know who they’re hanging with. And, on occasion, you can slip into the conversation and learn a ton about your teen’s life and the influence their friends have on them. Plus, those teen conversations are the absolute best! 

READ: 8 Reasons Why You Should Open Your Home to Your Teen’s Friends


6. Treat Your Teen’s Friends Like Your Own

Your teen’s friends mean A LOT to them. So, when they walk in the door, greet them, tell them you’re happy to see them, and ask a few questions about their lives. By showing them you genuinely care about them and what’s happening in their life, you’ll not only keep them coming back, you’ll be sending the message to your teen that you care about them and their friends. 

7. Treat Your Teen (and Their Friends) with Respect

More than anything, teens want to be treated like the adult they’re becoming, not the kid they’re leaving behind. So, bottom line, drop the “It’s my way or the highway” dictatorship attitude and don’t treat your teen like a little kid. (Ahem… even though you might still have to ask them 10 times to take out the garbage.)

Let them have a voice and weigh in on their curfew, when they do their chores, and where the family should go on vacation. The more you respect and empower them so they feel part of the process, the more likely they’ll be to go with the flow and respect you and your rules in return.

8. Stock Up on Their Favorite Snacks

There’s no better way to lure your teen to spend more time at home (and invite their friends over) than to stock up on their favorite snacks. Easy and (relatively) inexpensive snacks you can pick up at Sam’s Club or Costco are great, including things like cheese sticks, veggies and dip, grapes, granola bars, muffins, popcorn (always a hit), and various chips. 

9. Add Some Fun to the Mix

If possible, add a few fun teen-friendly “toys” in the house. Whether it’s a pool or foosball table, a cool gaming console, jacuzzi, or a relaxing outdoor space with a hammock and firepit so your teen and their friends can hang out – the more areas in the house or yard your teen (and their friends) can escape to and chill out, the more likely they’ll want to hang out at your house. (Remember, you can check in on them from time to time, but stay cool and let them have their time and space. No teen wants to feel like they’re being “watched.”)


10. Learn to Let Some Things Go

I know it drives you nuts when your teen’s room is a mess. And, I know it’s irritating when they walk in the door and throw their backpack, shoes, and jacket on the floor. But just remember you see things your teen doesn’t and you care about things your teen couldn’t care less about. They’ll get there eventually (with plenty of prodding and reminding). Until then, pick your battles, parents, for your sake and theirs. They still have a lot of growing up to do…

11. Keep It Easy n’ Casual

You really need to keep your target audience in mind here. Teenagers are C.A.S.U.A.L. creatures… we’re talking about people who wear sweatpants and hoodies and who think Ramen Noodles are gourmet. They don’t care if your house is a little messy or if your towels match in the bathroom. They love to relax and hang out… a lot. Easy-going evenings watching Netflix munchin’ on their fave snack, casual conversations while they make a midnight snack, and hanging out playing video games with their friends – keep life as casual and chill as possible. It’s what teens love!


12. Be The Role Model They Need 

I know it’s tempting to want to be the cool mom or dad in the neighborhood, but I’ve seen that backfire too many times to count. Face it, in (most) teens’ eyes, their parents (and their friend’s parents) will never really be cool. So stop trying. Instead, focus on being a positive role model both to your teen(s) and their friends. Teenagers crave stability, love, guidance, and compassion – if you offer them those things you could be the most uncool parent on the planet and they’ll still gravitate to you. 

13.  Enjoy This Time (It Won’t Be Like This Forever)

I don’t have to tell you that time flies,  but it really seems to fly when your kids hit the teen years. One minute, you have a 12-year-old boy and the next your 6’2″ 17-year-old son is wrapping his lanky arms around you to give you a hug and asking for the car keys. 

Just take it in stride… everything.

The sweaty armpits, the crumbs on the floor, the time you spend in the car driving them (and all their friends) to Timbuktu and back, the occasional heavy sighs and eye-rolls, the way they eat ALL the food in the house, their messy bedrooms… all of it.

These days truly are fleeting. One day, all too soon, these days will be nothing more than a memory. For now, just give your teen a reason to want to come home…

If you enjoyed reading, “How to Create a Home Life Your Teen Actually Wants to Come Home To,” check out these other posts!

The Hangout House: The Upside of Being Teen Central

7 Things to Stop Expecting From Your Teen

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Anna April 17, 2023 - 11:37 pm

This is so Helpful!!!

Thank You❤️

We Greatly Appreciate it!

Nancy Reynolds April 18, 2023 - 8:30 am

You’re SO welcome! I’m happy you found the post helpful! xo


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