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.