If your teenager comes home drunk?

No matter how much you’ve talked, provided information, discussed, and shown them that you care, there’s still a possibility that your teenager might come home drunk. In one sense, you can be glad that your teenager has at least come home. But what do you do when your teenager is standing there in the hall?


You may well have drunk too much, yourself, at some point in your life, and you know just how bad you can feel. When that happens, you don’t feel very big or strong. This is not the time to start a row.

Make sure that your teenager drinks some fluids and put a bucket beside their bed. Let them sleep and sober up before you talk about it.

"When you’re drunk, you often feel sad. And when you’re sad, you don’t want your parents to be angry. All that does is make you angry back at them". 

Jenny, aged 16, Umeå


It’s better to describe your feelings than to worry yourself sick and get angry in silence. That’ll just make things worse. But try not to go in too hard. Your teenager is probably already feeling guilty and ashamed.

If you’re going to be able to talk about things, it’s important that you show you understand that everyone can make mistakes, not least in their teens. And the teens are a period when we’re particularly sensitive to how people view us and our personality. It’s better to say, “I can’t accept you drinking,” than “That was really stupid of you!”. It’s also easier to change something you do than who you are. 

Photo: Pablo Frisk

"My Mum says she’ll film me if I come home drunk, and then show me to make me feel ashamed".

Molly, aged 15, Göteborg

More to read about the same topic

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

When parents are not around

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