THE DISCUSSION CAN WAIT
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, however old you might be, and it’s nice to have someone there to help you and to talk calmly to you. Throwing a fit and starting a row is not the right thing to do – not there and then. Make sure your teenager drinks some fluids. Putting a bucket beside their bed can be a good idea, too. Let them sleep for a few hours and sober up before you talk about it. But you can still let them know that this is not OK and that you want to talk about it the next day.
When you're drunk, you often feel sad, and when you're sad, you don't want your parents to be angry. All the does is make you angry back at them.
Jenny, aged 16, Umeå
TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL
Don’t hide the fact that it’s unacceptable to you that your child is drinking. Show your feelings, rather than worry yourself sick and getting angry in silence. That’ll just make things worse. Being quietly upset is worse than saying what you think.
I never come home on time. As long as I come home, my parents are happy.
Ted, aged 16, Umeå
THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING STUPID AND DOING SOMETHING STUPID
Coming home drunk doesn’t mean that your teenager is stupid. What it means is that they have done something stupid. Teenagers are particularly sensitive to what people think about them because they’re busy finding out who they are. Being judged as being stupid can hit them hard. Being stupid is also a lot harder to change than behaving stupidly. Say, “What you did was stupid,” not, “You were stupid to do that.”