Parents of teenage girls

Can you give me a hand here? My 15 year old niece is coming to visit for a few days in August. She told her dad (my brother) that she wanted to come see me here in Houston as well as visit my cousin in New Orleans.

I last saw her at Christmas at which time she seemed to me a fairly typical goofy 14 year old going through the raccoon phase of eye makeup mastery, and conversation was difficult. Just listening and failing to understand it all was the plan then.

I’ll make the call when she gets here as to whether she’s mature (and interested) enough to go to the range. And I’ll clear that with my brother, of course.

So, three nights, four days, I have no kids - what are we going to do?

According to TV, take her shopping.

The range? What is that?

Yeah, that sounds weird. And as for what she likes to do. Hmm, maybe ask her?

I think you’re going to have to ask her.

I have two nieces who are the same age as each other and could not be more different. At 15 one would have wanted to visit your city’s cultural and historical highlights, hauling along 20 lbs of cameras and gear. The other one would want to make sure the Limited in your mall was exactly like the Limited in her mall, and then go to the pool and flirt with boys.

Surely it’s some nature preserve where deer and antelope play in the sun without discouraging each other, right?

The range is a rifle and pistol range, something she’s expressed some interest in in the past.

Dude’s in Texas. I’m assuming “shooting range.” And, yeah, another vote for “ask her” or “ask your brother.” You can’t guess much just from age and gender.

Teens are always up for going to the movies.

  1. Break lock on bathroom door.

  2. Remove shower curtain.

On her vacation, you’re going to ask her to cook?

My niece came to visit at that age. We: went to one of our local independent bookstores (spent ages in there), went to the fancy French bakery where she fell in love with the macarons, walked around the campus at OSU (she didn’t think that was nearly as cool as my goddaughter had a few weeks earlier), went to the offbeat 2nd hand clothing store and saw a bunch of things she liked (can’t remember what we bought), and then went to Half-Price Books where we hung out some more.

That said, I also recommend asking. I’d float as many of these ideas as appeal to you (at least a bit) and let her pick. If she’s anything like my niece was at that age, she’ll just say “I don’t know” if you simply ask what she wants to do.

Good luck and have fun!

I expect as much. That’s why I’m hoping to arm myself with suggestions that might appeal to her. She is a reader, so the bookstore’s a possibility.

Drop her off in downtown Austin with $1000 cash and tell her “meet me back here in exacty 48 hours and NEVER breath a WORD of this to your father”.

Or you could just ask her what she wants to do.

A slight modification of the “ask her” plan:

When she shows up, present her with some options. “Hey, Anne! Now that you’re settled in, I wanted to run some things by you. While you’re here, if you just want to relax, that’s fine. But there are some other things we can do. I’m totally psyched about going to the range with you, if you’re still up for that. If you do the whole mall thing, there’s a mall near here. I’ve been wanting to see Brave, so if you’re up for that, we could do that some night. Or, I’ve got a drawer with some brochures about local touristy things, like some caves and other stuff; if you’re into that, take a look through the drawer and let me know what looks fun. If there’s anything specific you’re wanting to do, lemme know!”

Giving her some options (and that might have been too many, but you get the idea) might help, since she may not be accustomed to traveling by herself and may not know how to answer the question, “What do you want to do?” as a fill-in-the-blank instead of multiple-choice.

Edit: Also, Scarlet, I know it may be hard, but try not to be repulsive.

I’d second this suggestion.

If she’s anything like my teenage daughters , she’ll spend 50% of the time texting, 40% of the time sleeping. You just have to figure out what to do with the remaining 10%!

I was going to say the movies. Or get her a gift card to the mall, let her shop for a while (probably with you not right next to her). Or take her to the bookstore and let her choose a book to read while she’s with you. Or have her help you organize your kitchen. Let her bake some cookies.

I love the range idea. The movies…well…can see those anywhere, ya know? Unless there’s a very cool movie theater somehow different from where she’s from. Or it’s a hot day and there is something she does especially want to see.

One thing about having guests is it gets one off one’s arse regarding local activities that one may have always ‘meant to check out’ but never got around to doing. So I second the ‘local touristy brochure’ thing.

She’ll probably be texting and facebooking all day long whatever you do. (if my 13 year old daughter and her friends are any indication) Other than that, print out a list of local tourist things and ask her what she feels like doing.

I am sure she has malls at home and since she is interested in visiting your area, give her a taste of what it has to offer and let her decide.