Back when I was a teenager, oh those many years ago, each group of friends had one house where the parent(s) welcomed them in. The teenagers felt connected to those parents, they talked to those parents, they felt supported by those parents. Those parents had serious conversations with the teenagers, they gave serious advice, they gave serious information about and access to things like birth control. But they gave no judgment. Those parents were the ones who knew what was going on, both with their own children and all of their friends. They might not have approved of all of the teenagers’ choices, particularly regarding sexuality, but they were in a position to influence decisions, if not to make them.
Not much has changed since then.
You want to be that parent. Knowing what’s going on with your teenager and their friends has a far, far higher value than telling your teenager what to do. Because your teenager will do whatever she or he decides to do, regardless of what you say. Sometimes your teenager will actually do exactly what you don’t want, because of what you say. (Yes, that includes having sex.)
So endeavour to become that mom or that dad that welcomes teenagers into their homes. Here’s the three easy steps to becoming that home:
- Feed them.
- Listen to them.
- Give them privacy.
And you’ll hear more and understand more than you ever thought possible.
What have you done to help your teenager and friends feel more comfortable at your home? What did your parents (or your friends’ parents) do for you and your friends? And what kind of impact did it have on you?
Sex was an off-limits topic in my house, but my dad was that parent in every other way. One time my mom and I walked into the house from a school play to find a platonic male friend of mine sitting in the living room. He’d walked four miles from his house in order to sit and chat with my dad!
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