Friends are so important to our teens. As the parents, it’s our job to get to know each other. That way, we can agree on expectations about what our teens do and how they behave. Plus, it’s nice to know there is strength in numbers – we’re not the only ones raising teens.
GET TO KNOW PARENTS:
- Make a point to invite parents in for coffee and a chance to chat when they bring their teen to visit our homes. If you’re the driver, stick your head in the door and introduce yourself to the parents of your teens’ friends.
- Know the address and phone numbers of your teens’ friends. Keep this information in a handy place to make quick phone calls to check teens’ plans.
GET TO KNOW TEENS’ FRIENDS:
- Introduce yourself to your teen’s friends – let them know your name and learn theirs as well.
- Take interest in them. We’re not going to get juicy information, but know the basics: Where do you go to school? Do you have brothers and sisters? Do you play sports? What do you enjoy doing outside?
- Help teens’ friends know the rules in your house. Whether it’s leaving shoes at the door or clearing the dishes from the table after you eat, find a way to clearly and politely communicate your expectations.
- Concerned about a particular friend? Sometimes teens like to “try out” new friends who are very different from them. If you’re concerned there isn’t enough supervision or that the home of a friend is unsafe, invite the friend to your home.
QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN YOUR TEEN GOES TO ANOTHER FAMILY’S HOME:
- Will there be an adult at home? Will the adult be nearby the teens?
- What does the parent know about their teens’ plans?
- Will they be going anywhere? If so, how will they get there? (Do you want an adult to drive or are you ok with the 16-year-old sister driving?)
- What time should I pick up my teen?
- How many teens are coming over? (Is this a raging party or just a few friends?)
- Will they be having a meal with you?
- What are your rules about media ratings and what kids are allowed to watch?
- Do you have alcohol in the house? What are your rules about use?
- Does anyone smoke in the house? What are your rules about smoking?
- Do you have guns in the home? Are they locked away with trigger locks?
Taken from Shoulder to Shoulder Minnesota, 2003.