DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU’RE UNIMPORTANT
It’s very easy for kids to get wrapped up in new friends. As a parent, you might feel unimportant and excluded, which can be a bit painful. But don’t forget that, as a parent, you are just as important to your child as you always were, and in a way that friends never can be.
TRY TO BE OPEN
Your teenager’s new friends might not be the sort of friends you would have liked them to choose. But try to keep an open mind. Ask questions about the new friends and try to listen without judging. Encourage your teenager to invite their friends home, so that you have the chance to meet them.
If I had a friend who drank a lot, I’d tell my parents. But I don’t think they’d do anything.
Simon, aged 16, Umeå
ASK FOR A NAME AND NUMBER
There’s nothing strange about asking your child for the phone number of their friend or the friend’s parents. Start by asking your teenager and explaining why you want the number. It’s not because you don’t trust your teenager: it’s because it’s good to have if something happens.
And if your teenager is sleeping over at a friend’s house, it’s always a good idea to check with the friend’s parents that it’s OK. Your teenager might complain a bit, but you can be pretty sure that, in their heart of hearts, they appreciate you keeping an eye out for them.
IF A FRIENDSHIP IS DESTRUCTIVE
If you realise that a friendship is actively harmful and destructive, you need to act. Try to help your child by providing arguments they can use to end the relationship and to resist being drawn into something, such as alcohol or other drugs.
It’s also important to pay attention if one of your child’s friends seems to be vulnerable in some way. Find out more in the ”When other people’s kids are in trouble” section.