Kids Need Their Mom…to Treat Their Friends like Family
I’ve probably given this drill a hundred times to all my kids’ friends. “Here are the rules for our house:
– You are welcome here. Truly. Tonight you are at home with us, and we’re so glad you’re here.
– You are welcome to anything we have in our kitchen. Want a glass of juice? Just pour one for yourself. Cups are there.
– No one goes to bed hungry in our house. If you need a snack, it’s yours.
– Need a bath towel? Check the bathroom cabinets.
– Make yourself at home here, sleep comfy, and stay as long as you can.”
Maybe not the first meeting, but certainly by the second, I greet my kid’s new friend with a hug and “mama love.”
I don’t hover or try to hang out with my kids’ friends, but it does mean so much to the children to know their friends will be welcomed graciously. We want their friends to walk into our house and know that a whole family full of people is happy to see them or meet them for the very first time.
One of the best ways I have learned to treat their friends like family is to put them to work. Nothing big, but included. When I come home from the grocery store, I call every name in the house to go and bring in the groceries, even if they are all squirrely 12-year-old boys. If a friend is just standing around before we serve dinner, I hand them the placemats and get them setting the table. I send them to get firewood right along with my kids. I’m not looking for free labor. I just know how being included makes me feel.
My children know that their friends are always welcome. And we mean it. They are welcome to spend the night. To stay for dinner. To come home with them from college. The kids usually remember to ask us first, but they know there won’t be a penalty if they forget. The children also know that we are going to wrap our arms around their friends and be interested in who they are and what they are becoming. Making their friends feel like family is about opening our hearts and sharing what we have. It’s the smile on our faces. The tone of our voices. The interest in our questions. The easy way we laugh. The “mama love” we give, even to someone who is almost a stranger.
We treat our kids’ friends like family—first, because we have been invited into the family of God and the Bible instructs us to give what we have been given. Second, we welcome their friends like family because it makes our kids want to bring their friends home, and that’s always where I want them to be. And third, we treat people like family in front of our children so they will learn. Oh, how I pray my children will make gracious, inviting homes of warmth where my grandchildren will live and grow.
Angela Thomas is a sought-after speaker, teacher, and bestselling author of Do You Think I’m Beautiful?, My Single Mom Life, Prayers for My Baby Boy, and Prayers for My Baby Girl. She inspires thousands at national conferences, workshops, and through video studies that she filmed and wrote including Brave: Honest Questions Women Ask.