To My Teen’s Friends, Come On Over and Make Yourself at Home

The joy of being "that house"...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: My Teen’s Friends, Come On Over and Make Yourself at Home

Written by: The Raising Teens Today Community

My home has always been the favored hangout for my kids and all their friends. You might think it’s because we have a cool built-in swimming pool in the backyard or an expensive ping pong or foosball table in the basement, or that we’ve invested big bucks in the latest and greatest gaming and tech toys.

Or, you might think it’s because I turn a blind eye and give the kids free rein to do what they want, or maybe that I’m never home so supervision is low and they can get away with murder.

But that’s not the case…

I’ve pondered the “why” of it all and honestly, I think it has more to do with the fact that when my kids’ friends walk in our door, I treat them like family. That and the fact that I really like teenagers.

I mean, I know that likely puts me in the minority. (Some parents, shake their heads and look at me like I’m crazy.) But I really love watching these kids straddle life between childhood and adulthood. 

Yep, they’re a little smelly, messy, loud, and moody, at times. And, God knows they can consume a ridiculous amount of snacks. But they’re also funny and insightful and smart and intuitive. They’re craving validation and attention, and more than anything, they just want to be noticed and feel supported and truly cared about. 

To My Teen’s Friends, Come On Over and Make Yourself at Home


I knew when I became a mom that I wanted to be “that house.” The one where the kids sprawled out on the couch watching TV, hanging out, and munching on any and every snack they can round up in the pantry.

But I’ve learned that opening your home to your teen’s friends doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll take you up on the offer. Teenagers are actually pretty finicky – they choose their “hangout” houses wisely.

As a Mom, I don’t have any earth-shattering secrets to share if your goal is to become “that house.” But there are a few things I do (along with my husband) to make our kids’ friends feel welcome in our home.

I make them feel special… I greet them with a big smile and more often than not I wrap them in a big hug if they let me… which, (surprise!) they typically do.

I ask about their life, how their new internship is going, or where they went on their family vacation. 

I notice them… “Wow, you got a new haircut – I love it!” “That’s such a cool hoodie you’re wearing!” “Hey, you got your braces off! You have the best smile!”

I encourage them to kick their shoes off by the front door, grab a cold drink from the fridge or a snack from the pantry, and plop on the couch and chill out. (One of my daughter’s friends hung out so often at our house, she’d make our weekly grocery list.)

I hang out with them a bit, offer a listening ear when life gets hard, and compassionate “soft advice” when they need it. (I’m careful about this because I don’t want to offer advice that should be coming directly from their parents unless it’s clear they don’t have family support.)

I laugh with them, have fun with them, invite them over for dinner or a BBQ or a movie night – I truly enjoy their company.

I try to make my home the sanctuary they crave without the pounding pressure of someone asking them “targeted” questions about their grades, their future, college aspirations or applications, and other topics that might stir anxiety.

I try my best to make them feel “at home.” 

I know what you’re thinking…

What about the kids you don’t approve of? What about the kids who you’re convinced are a bad influence on your kids? What about the kids you barely know?

Well… I welcome even the ones I don’t know very well. I welcome the ones I question a bit. And, yes, I welcome even the ones who might be struggling in their own lives and I’m not sure they’re a great influence on our kids.

Because I know the influence I have and the power I hold to change a life or help them change direction. I mean, sure, I don’t “love” all my kids’ friends… there are some I’d rather they don’t hang with.

But there are things I can’t always control and, the one thing I’ve learned is that my kids’ friends are more like family to them and when I push my kids’ friends away, I push them away. The closer I get to my kids’ friends and the more I know about them (and how they treat my kids or the influence they have on them), the more I can guide my kids to make the right friend choices or even “gently” discourage them from hanging with certain kids.

But that’s only half of it. We also give our kids a few things, too, when their friends are over…

We give them the freedom to escape to the basement without constant hovering. (Of COURSE, we check up on them.)

We pick up on their “cues.” Sometimes, they want us to chime in and chat with their friends. Other times, they just want to hang out with their friends without mom or dad around.

We stock the pantry and fridge with snacks and drinks we know our kids and our kids’ friends might love. (Umm… yes, your grocery bill will be higher.)

We put our trust in them that they’ll keep a watchful eye on their friends’ language and behavior and put faith in them that they’ll put their foot down (and/or ask their friend(s) to leave) if they cross the line or break a rule in our home. (Guess what? They take that responsibility seriously!)

We make it easy and relaxed and comfortable to invite their friends into our home. 

So many of the kids who hang out at my house I’ve known since they were in pre-school or elementary school. There’s a lot of history there. To me, they’re not just my kids’ friends, they’re my kids. 

So, to my teen’s friends, I hope you always remember this…

When you need a place to land, to get away from the stresses of life, or even need a break from your own home life, you’re welcome here.

When you need a ride, a few bucks for gas, a big plate of spaghetti, or a fresh perspective, you’re welcome here.

When you just want to chill out, watch your favorite Netflix series and feel like plopping on the couch with a cold drink, you’re welcome here.

When you’re facing challenges in life and you need a reassuring hug, a listening ear, or a shoulder to lean on, you’re welcome here.

When it feels like the world is shutting you out and you’re looking for a door that’s always open, you’re welcome here.

When you want to share a funny thing that happened or a major milestone in your life, you know we’ll laugh and cheer right alongside you, you’re welcome here.

I hope you know, you’re one of mine. I love watching you change and grow and mature and come into your own. I hope you know, sweetheart, that this mama loves you and you’ll always have a second home here… 

If you enjoyed reading, “To My Teen’s Friends, Come On Over and Make Yourself at Home.” here are a few other posts you might enjoy reading:

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

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

I’m Second Mom to My Teens’ Friends and I Admit It, I Love It

Why Not Join Us?
I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 3.000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn how to optimize your blog for search engines, find free traffic, and monetize your website.
RAISING TEENS TODAY is a resource and safe zone for parents to share the joys, challenges, triumphs and frustrations of raising our oh, so imperfect (but totally awesome) teens. PLUS, sign up and you'll receive my FREE e-Book "Scoring Scholarships!"

You may also like

Leave a Comment