Holidays

A lot of adults can’t imagine a New Year’s Eve without some bubbly, and a lot of young people associate partying and alcohol with the end of the school year. These are the days when a lot of young people drink for the first time. They’re also the days when a lot of them get into fights and have accidents because they’re drunk. As a parent, there’s a lot you can do.

Talk about it

Ask your teenager about their plans for the evening, whether people are going to be drinking alcohol, and what he or she thinks about that. Tell them what you think about drinking and that it’s unacceptable to you that he or she drinks alcohol. Teenagers care what their parents say – even if it doesn’t look that way at the time. Show them that you’re there for them, whatever happens. It’s always better that your teenager knows he or she can come home drunk, even if that’s unacceptable to you.

It's chaos on New year's Eve. Everyone's drunk. People are throwing up and running around town.

Greta, aged 15, Umeå

Don’t buy them alcohol

Young people who are given alcohol by their parents drink more. And if you buy them alcohol, you’re also telling them that it’s OK to drink, even if you’re not an adult. Some parents think it’s OK to give their teenagers alcohol on special occasions, e.g. at the end of the ninth grade or over Midsummer. But warning your child about alcohol and then helping them to drink makes no sense, even if it’s only for one evening. Teenagers always feel best if you’re clear and consistent.

Talk to older siblings and friends

The most common way for teenagers to get hold of alcohol is through their boyfriend or girlfriend, through friends or their friends’ siblings. Talk to the ones who are aged 20 or older and who are around your teenagers, and help them say “no”. Say that you expect him or her to be mature enough to act responsibly.

Keep an eye on things

Make sure that your teenager has their mobile with them, or that you can get in touch with them in some way during the evening. Maybe you can agree in advance on some times when you check in? And ask your teenager to let you know if they go on somewhere else or if their plans change. Make sure that you, or another adult, are sober so that there is someone who can come and get them or help them, if necessary. Maybe you can also visit the places where your teenager or other young people tend to hang out? Get together with other parents and be out and about that evening. But talk to your teenager about it first so that he or she understands that you’re not spying on them – you’re just there for them if things go bad.

There are always loads of pictures from parties and stuff on social media the day after some big holiday.

Fred, aged 16, Gothenburg

Talk to others

Talk to other parents about the do’s and don’ts of holidays. If your opinions differ, you don’t have to change your mind because other people think differently. You’re the parent, and as such, you’re always the one who decides what goes for your child. It isn’t the end of the world if you as parents don’t all agree. The important thing is that you have talked about it and that you and your teenager know where other families stand.

Suggest activities

There are lots of things young people can do on holidays. If there’s an agreed activity for them to look forward to, there’s less of a risk of them wandering aimlessly around town.

Feedback afterwards

It’s a good idea to be awake when your teenager comes home, or to get feedback the next morning, but don’t turn it into a cross-examination. Try and show them, instead, that you’re interested and that it’s important that you talk to each other about what they got up to and how things went.

More to read about the same topic

If parents are not around

Festivals, home parties and trips abroad are examples of situations where adults are rarely present. There are some pitfalls that you, as a parent, should be aware of and that you can teach your teenager how to handle.

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

Teenagers and alcohol

There are many considerations that can easily arise when your child becomes a teenager. But first and foremost: how do young people think about drinking themselves? And why is it more dangerous to drink alcohol in adolescence than as an adult?

Take responsibility

Maybe you sometimes feel pretty helpless as a parent. But there’s a lot you can do. As always showing that you care, that you’re there and that you are happy to listen. And often it’s important to be clear about what you expect of your teenager.

Yes or no?

The clearer you communicate your expectations, the easier it is for your teenager to take a stand or do what you say. Also, think about what sort of message and values you’re conveying to your child.

The teenage years

The teenage years are a very special time in your child’s life. Teenagers are navigating the frontier lands between childhood and adulthood and there are a lot of new things to handle: school, friends, being allowed to stay out late, sex, parties and – not least – alcohol.

Teenager’s drinking habits

Not only is it illegal to buy alcohol for young people, but most adults think that alcohol is something teenagers should be avoiding. So where are teenagers getting their alcohol? How much do they drink? And what sort of problems do young people experience in connection to alcohol?

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