Home alone

Leaving your teenager home alone is no guarantee of a mega-party, but you might, as a parent, find it helpful to be aware of the sort of situations your teenager may face when there are no adults around. A lot of young people do feel peer pressure when it comes to parties and partying. They’re often not ready to throw a party, to go to a party, or to drink alcohol, but they end up in these situations all the same.

Call home to see how they are

If your teenager is going to be home alone, you can call home during the evening to see how things are going. Calling home shows that you care. It’s a good idea to tell your teenager in advance that you’re going to call them, so they understand why you’re doing it.

Talk about online risks

Teenagers live in an increasingly connected world, and news spreads fast and easily online. If your teenager posts that they’re home alone or invite people to a party, the information can very easily end up in the wrong hands. Carelessness or incautiousness on social media increases the risk of ending up in unexpected situations. It’s a good idea to talk to your teenager about what posting content on social media can mean.

If you're throwing a party, you have to keep a really tight lid on it. If you post it on social meda, everyone will turn up.

Elliot, aged 15, Örebro

Ask other adults for help

One of the problems with parent-free parties is that if they get out of hand, young people are sometimes too scared to contact an adult in time. Maybe they’ve been drinking and are afraid of being found out, or they’re so embarrassed that they don’t dare to ask for help. Which is why it can be a good idea to reassure your teenager that it’s always best to call you or another adult if the situation starts getting out of hand. You can also ask an adult in the neighbourhood to drop by during the evening and check that everything is OK.

Help saying “no”

The majority of teenagers don’t actually want to throw a party, just because their parents are away. But they often feel pressured by friends or people around them, and that makes it hard for them to say “no”. Explain that it can sometimes feel a bit awkward saying “no”, but that that is actually the mature, smart course to take. If saying “no” still feels too difficult, maybe you can agree that your son or daughter lay the blame on you?

Remove the alcohol

If it’s party time, and you know about it, it can be a good idea to put away anything that poses an unnecessary temptation. If you’ve got alcohol in the house, it might be a good idea to remove it to avoid the risk of your teenager or one of his or her friends helping themselves to it. By no means does every teenager have a sneaky drink at home without their parents’ knowledge, but around 9 per cent of all ninth graders say that they’ve taken alcohol from their parents without permission. You might also like to think about other sorts of things that could be lying around at home which could be dangerous in the hands of a teenager. It might, for example, be a good idea to keep an eye on your medicine cabinet if you know that it contains strong sleeping or painkilling tablets.

You don’t have to leave your teenager home alone

If you decide not to allow your teenager to be home alone, it doesn’t have to mean that you don’t trust your son or daughter. Spending time together as a family outside the home is good too, and it’s by no means certain that your teenager will find it boring – which he or she might, initially, pretend. And learning to compromise is an important skill, too.

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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