Your worst fears have finally come true. You woke up today and suddenly realized that your kids are teenagers, and that all the old games, activities, and outings that used to keep them entertained suddenly bore them, or worse, make them think you're uncool. Now, there's no preventing the inevitability that your kids will think you're uncool some of the time during their teenage years. But you can aid them in other ways that keeps them from being social pariahs and you from being a cruel, heartless dictator in their eyes. One way is to create a space at home that your teens can call their own.
The benefits of this idea are twofold: you get to keep your kids close to home during the times they're most likely to go out and cause trouble, while they get to have a semi-private space where they can hang out with friends. Though you may be tempted to try and have everyone spend time in the main part of your house, the truth is, your kids don't want you around when their friends are over. So unless you plan on sacrificing your living space to go hide in your bedroom while they're around, you'll want to provide them their own space. And no space is more ideal than your home basement.
A basement hangout provides your teens a distinctive space to call their own. Not only that, but basements typically feel more isolated than they actually are, so even though you're easily able to check on them when you feel it's necessary, they feel as though they're far away.
The last remaining problem then? The fact that your basement is a basement.
There are limits to your kids' willingness to compromise, and let's face it, if your son or daughter has a best friend with a much more inviting space to hang out in, they aren't staying at your place. You'll want to upgrade your basement, though it doesn't have to be nearly as cost intensive as you might imagine. Teens can put up with a lot that most adults would find repulsive, they just have a few basic needs that must be met. For starters, they'll want something to do. Setting up an old TV and some video game systems in the basement is a great way to begin. It's not quite enough though. Much better is adding a pool table or air hockey table. This will serve as the centerpiece of the basement hangout, and be the primary reason the other kids want to hang out at your kid's house. They'll say, "Oh, Jim has that awesome air hockey table at his house." Or, "Hey, let's go to Diane's place. She's got this killer pool table in the basement." Without this lure, it's difficult to maintain your competitive advantage. After all, you're not going to be the only parent competing to have you kid and his/her friends at your house.
Once this is done, you should have a sufficient lure. Just make sure to throw in a comfy couch, and you'll have them hooked (free food couldn't hurt either)!