Teenagers make everything more fun

Last night, we threw a huge Halloween party. This was for the kids – the average kiddo age was around 6 or 7, and there were close to 65 of them here. There was a potluck, bobbing for apples, a witch with a withchy brew, and stories around the campfire, among many other things. Good, old-fashioned fun for all ages.

Unless, some might say, you’re a teenager.

But we did have two teenagers come. And they were absolutely a delight, and in many ways the favorites of the little ones. One came under duress and one by choice.

The young woman was grounded, which means in her family that she has to work. So she came with her three little sisters and did my bidding and her mother’s bidding. I had her run the apple-bobbing. The kids flocked to her, and the apple-bobbing was more popular than it’s ever been before. Some kids went back again and again, drawn to this young woman far more than the apples or wet hair that is intrinsic to apple bobbing.

The young man is someone I’ve known since he was little. We say hi now, but haven’t really connected in a couple of years. I saw him in the school parking lot on Monday, and asked on a whim if he’d like to come to the party and play a scarecrow for little kids. I think he liked the idea of giving back to kids the magic of his childhood Halloween parties. The children may have been a little bit stand-offish at first, probably because of his costume, but he quickly became the favorite “adult.”

In addition to the children, many of the parents and grandparents at the party took the time to come to me and mention what delights both of these young people were. I encouraged them to tell the teenagers that themselves, but I’m not sure if any did.

Teenagers add an incredible depth for both children and adults. The potential energy and authenticity they bring to a party or other gathering, is just phenomenal. But they have to buy in to the process and the event. So when you’re planning an event, invite a teenager and his or her friends. They’ll probably feel better knowing that they’ll know someone there. (As we all do when we’re going to a party with mostly new people.) Ask what they’d like to do or eat or whatever, so they can feel welcome and part of the process.

You’ll gain tremendous benefits by including teenagers in your events, I promise.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.