Houseful of kids – we love the chaos

We always wanted to have a house where our kids felt comfortable in having their friends come over. Well, we have that house, and at times we laugh at the chaos, but would not have it any other way. My wife says we provide a soft place to land, but in essence we provide a haven where we do not judge; we just ask questions and listen. So the kids and now young adults keep coming by and it makes our lives and that of our kids much better. But, we have to be pretty flexible to make it happen, as gatherings often happen without much planning.

Our kids have benefitted, as they tend to be more introverted than extroverted, except with their friends. So, by having friends in our house for a weekly night of role-playing games or just impromptu electronic gaming or movie watching, makes them feel even more comfortable and inclined to ask others to do things. Plus, twelve years ago, we built a pool adding to a hot tub we already had. The final straw in the decision to build the pool was a friend said if you build a pool you will get to know your children’s friends. What is interesting, the hot tub is the final destination as kids will sit on the side, with some in the hot tub, and end the party with conversation and joking.

Another benefit for our kids is it gives them safe place to be themselves. We fortunately have a game area upstairs where they can gather. The greatest joy we have as parents is hearing our kids laughing with their friends through closed doors. Plus, they share their friends, so sibling rivalry is minimized. My middle child has benefitted greatly as he leads a role-playing game and has done so for over four years. Half the time, the kids are just hanging out, but he has kept it interesting enough that they continue to look forward to it. This has helped him be better organized and pursue his creativity. The sad part is with him at college, we don’t get to have the many friends over to play and make our house louder and more fun. So, as the summer ends and everyone heads back to college, it will get quieter.

Parents that have this kind of house probably have a smile on their face as they read this. If you are reluctant to have one of these houses, don’t be. The joy and camaraderie will far outweigh the negatives of less order. Plus, you and your kids will benefit. We know our kids’ friends and they know us. It is delightful. Trust me on this.


10 thoughts on “Houseful of kids – we love the chaos

  1. I think young parents should all read this post and take heed. Perhaps my mom did the same thing, intentionally or not, by having horses which attracted my girlfriends to our place. And, being out of town w/o wheels, I had little to no opportunity to get into trouble with other kids. I also have friends whose kids have grown up & out of the house but all get along beautifully and enjoy coming home for family gatherings. These parents modeled things similarly to your family, making their own homes into safe, comfortable gathering places for kids. A key element here, is being able to let go of control enough to give them privacy. Closed doors may be frightening to parents, but they are part of the growing process.

    I sense the wistfulness of nearly empty-nest syndrome in your words. The time goes by so fast.

    • Linda, thanks for your comments and like experience. You are correct on the wistfulness. When our daughter goes off to college, we will have an adjustment. All the best, BTG

  2. This is fantastic! I too love having my kids’ friends over. One thing I’ve noticed and am coming to terms with as an introvert myself is being patient with my children always being in “my space.” This was difficult when summer first started, and I’m sure once school starts again I will feel more in control and calm because I’ll have more time to be alone. I guess I find it a balancing act with having all the kids over and needing to recharge in some peace and quiet. 🙂

    • Thanks Emily. Finding the space is important as well. Fortunately, once the kids are upstairs, they are little sequestered from us and vice-versa. With that said, we all need those little nooks in our home to get away to have “me” time. On the flip side, my so called office is in the sitting area upstairs, so my daughter will ask me what I am working on and show me things that interest her. I prefer it that way, rather than being out of sight, out of mind. We all are different. Thanks again for your comments and your heartfelt post of the other day. All the best, BTG

    • This is my problem as well. It is pretty impossible to find alone time, other than perhaps at the grocery store, and that sure doesn’t count! 😦

      • Amaya, alone time is greatly needed to balance things out. You are right the grocery store does not count. Best wishes and thanks for your comment. BTG

  3. My parents were lovely enough to provide this kind of home for me. For that I am forever grateful. My brothers are now experiencing the same thing. I love going home to be surrounded by the chaos 🙂

    • Rachael, that is terrific. Plus, friends of siblings will likely know your friends who are their siblings, so it makes an even greater connection. Thanks for sharing your experience. BTG

  4. Completely agree! When my kid was at home, I always encouraged friends to come over, have sleep-overs, make pancakes for Saturday morning breakfast, and so on. Link also had parties 3-4 times a year for about 12 friends. I would often drive the kids home or see them being picked up, and therefore met everyone’s parents. This was very reassuring to me when Link spent time at their places. In the high school years, the kids would take the bus together across town to attend anime and gaming events and festivals. Needless to say, the house is very quiet now, but no regrets!

    • Great story. Sounds like Link would hit it off well with my kids with his interests. I agree about meeting parents. These days parents tend to text their kids when they arrive. I am guilty of this on occasion, as well. All the best, BTG

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