Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How to Attract Teenagers

I have a friend who extroverted, laid back, bold, a little sarcastic (in a good way), and generous. When her kids were in public high school and in college she wanted their friends at her house so she could know them, so she had an open house policy. LoriAnn says, "Our house was open to everyone. We'd rather them at our house [that way we could be] watching what's going on instead of at someone else's house with no one home."

The open home with plenty of food was where the kids wanted to be, even though some of her kids' friends had parents who were doctors and had huge homes. LoriAnn and her husband couldn't compete with that, but "We always kept drinks in the fridge, a stack of frozen pizzas and every snack/junk food you could think of. The kids would help themselves." 

Referring to the expense, LoriAnn says, "Did it cost? Yes. Was it worth it? Every penny. And I would do it again."

Her kids, two daughters and a son, are also outgoing and invited lots of friends over. How did she cope when she arrived home from work to fix dinner for a tableful? "Everyone has to pitch in. Don't have anything fancy for dinner. Have a couple of kids in charge of making, maybe, brownies. Someone setting the table. Someone in charge of drinks. They help out where it's needed. When it's a group effort, everyone has a good time."

They weren't shy about their faith. LoriAnn laughs, "All the kids would say to the newbies who came, 'Don't eat yet. No one has prayed.'" They knew this was how it was in the Smith household.

Some advice she has is to really get to know your kids' friends. "One thing I always told all three of my kids' friends was that they had to friend me on Facebook. You should have seen their faces! But they knew I was serious, so they did." As LoriAnn got to know them better she would sometimes talk to one or another to tell them that something she saw was inappropriate. Because of her love for them, "They would take it from me."

How do you get started? Not everyone has the same personality or will have the same rapport with teens, but LoriAnn says, "Maybe start by telling your kids they can each invite one friend over for dinner. Just bite the bullet and do it. You will never regret it!"

LoriAnn tells about the lasting results. "To this day some of the kids will come around. They will talk about how they learned to set a table. How to cook. Saw a real family. Most of my kids' friends call me Mama Smith to this day. I guess it wasn't all bad!"

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