Home alone

Leaving your teenager home alone doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to throw a big 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 at home. Even teenagers who don’t really want to throw a party, go to a party, or drink alcohol, can still find themselves in these situations.

CALL HOME AND SEE HOW THEY ARE

Is your teenager home alone? Call home during the evening to see how they’re doing. It shows that you care. It’s a good idea to tell them in advance that you’re going to call so that they’re expecting it. 

Teenager standing by his locker.
Photo: Pablo Frisk

TALK ABOUT ONLINE RISKS

Young people are spending more and more time online, where news travel fast and easily. If your teenager posts that they’re home alone or invites people to a party, the information can easily spread far beyond what they intended. Talk to your teenager about what posting on social media can entail.

HELP SAYING NO

The majority of teenagers don’t actually want to throw a party, just because their parents are away, but it can be hard to say “No” to their friends.

Explain that it can sometimes feel a bit awkward saying “No”, but that it’s actually the mature and smart thing to do. If saying “No” still feels too difficult, maybe you can agree that your teenager can lay the blame on you?

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 or are so embarrassed that they don’t dare ask for help.

Reassure your teenager that it’s always best to call you or another adult if a situation starts getting out of hand. You can also ask another adult to drop by during the evening and check that everything is OK.  

REMOVE THE ALCOHOL

If it’s party time and you know about it in advance, make sure you don’t have anything inappropriate in the house. If you’ve got alcohol in the house, it might be a good idea to remove it.

You might also like to think about other things in your home that could be dangerous in the hands of a teenager – the medicine cabinet for example, if you have strong sleeping pills or painkillers there. 

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR TEENAGER HOME ALONE

Deciding not to leave your teenager home alone doesn’t have to mean that you don’t trust them. Spending family time together outside the home is good too, and it’s by no means certain that your teenager won’t be keen, even if they initially show a lack of enthusiasm for the idea. 

More to read about the same topic

When parents are not around

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

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