Supervising teenagers in your home may sound like an easy task but it can be fraught with privacy, relationship and friendship issues. Don’t allow any of these things to keep you from making sure they remain safe in your care. When teenagers come to hang out in your home make the house rules clear, make your presence known, require parental consent before embarking on out-of-the ordinary activities and ask questions about their plans.
Make the House Rules Clear
When supervising teenagers in your home it is your right and duty as an adult to make everyone aware of your house rules. You may decide that only your child needs to hear them and (s)he can then advise friends if their behaviour breaks a rule, but there is no harm in making all of them aware of your expectations. In fact, this may take some pressure off your child instead of effectively making him or her the supervisor of friends’ behaviour. Common house rules for teenagers include:
- No friends of the opposite sex upstairs or in bedrooms.
- Doors to rooms always open when friends are inside.
- No violence or abuse of any kind, including physical, verbal or emotional.
- Respect all property, including not breaking or stealing items.
- Sleepovers can take place only with permission and members of the same sex.
- Daily chores and homework must be completed despite the presence of a friend in the home.
- No leaving the home without permission.
- No inviting more friends over without permission.
Make Your Presence Known
Supervising teenagers in your home means that you will be in the house with them. Don’t be shy about being in your own home, on the contrary make your presence known. Poke your head in the door to ask if teens need anything, to offer a snack, to offer options for meals and to make normal requests such as lowered voices, music or the volume of the television. Teens may very well be aware that you are really checking in on them, but don’t let their disapproval or exasperation sway you. Teens must earn your respect and until you feel comfortable with their presence and activities in your home you have every right to remind them that you are in the house and interested in what they are doing.
Require Parental Consent
If teens under your supervision propose an unusual activity, if you would like to supervise teens somewhere other than in your home or if you must leave the home unexpectedly then make sure that you have consent from other teens’ parents before carrying out a new plan. You may decide that you would prefer to speak to the other parents directly or that a teen telling you or showing you a text that permission has been granted is enough. If you do not speak to other parents directly then remind teens that you’ll be in touch with parents soon after to update them on the event or thank them for their flexibility. The thought of you being in direct contact could be enough to keep teens from providing fake consent without really contacting their parents.
No matter which teens are in your home or what they plan on doing, it is always your right as a parent to ask them questions about their activities. Questions might be common, like which film will they watch and what is the rating, or more complicated, such as why a fellow friend wasn’t invited in or who had the idea for the planned activity. If you have concerns about how teens’ plans might make others feel, how they propose to pay for the plans and if other parents would be happy with such activities these questions must be asked as well.
Supervising teenagers in your home can be a challenge. Make this task easier on yourself by making your house rules clear to all involved, making your presence known to the teens in your home, requiring parental consent for unusual activities or circumstances and asking questions about teens’ plans.