New friends

The teenage years are often a time when you make new friends. A lot of this is due to the fact that many teenagers change school at this age, of course, but it’s also because, as they grow older, they outgrow their old friends. And who you socialise with is particularly important at this age. As a parent, it’s important that you don’t attempt to control their friendships – rather that you provide support, when necessary.

Don’t feel left out

If your teenager makes a load of new friends, it’s very easy for him or her to be swallowed up by all the novelty. As a parent, you can feel unimportant, excluded, which can sometimes be a bit painful. But don’t forget that a parent is always important to a child. Be curious, instead, and happy about all the new friends that your daughter or son has made.

Be open

You might feel that your teenager’s new friends are not the sort of friends you would have liked them to choose, but try and keep an open mind and not to lecture them about who is a suitable friend and who isn’t. After all, it’s your teenager who will be spending time with them, not you. It’s better to tell them that their friends are welcome in your home, so that you have the chance to get to know them. And talk about it with your teenager too – talk about why they’ve chosen to be friends with these particular people. Listen, but don’t judge.

If your friends freeze you out because you don't drink, they're not real friends.

Emanuel, aged 16, Umeå

Ask for a name and a phone number

There’s nothing at all strange about asking for the phone number of the friend or the friend’s parents. Ask your teenager or look it up yourself. Make sure you explain 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 going to be 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 sure that in their heart of hearts, they appreciate you keeping an eye out for them.

More to read about the same topic

The teenage years

The teenage years are a very special time in your child’s life. Teenagers are navigating the frontier lands between childhood and adulthood and there are a lot of new things to handle: school, friends, being allowed to stay out late, sex, parties and – not least – alcohol.

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

Teenagers and alcohol

There are many considerations that can easily arise when your child becomes a teenager. But first and foremost: how do young people think about drinking themselves? And why is it more dangerous to drink alcohol in adolescence than as an adult?

Take responsibility

Maybe you sometimes feel pretty helpless as a parent. But there’s a lot you can do. As always showing that you care, that you’re there and that you are happy to listen. And often it’s important to be clear about what you expect of your teenager.

If parents are not around

Festivals, home parties and trips abroad are examples of situations where adults are rarely present. There are some pitfalls that you, as a parent, should be aware of and that you can teach your teenager how to handle.

Yes or no?

The clearer you communicate your expectations, the easier it is for your teenager to take a stand or do what you say. Also, think about what sort of message and values you’re conveying to your child.

Teenager’s drinking habits

Not only is it illegal to buy alcohol for young people, but most adults think that alcohol is something teenagers should be avoiding. So where are teenagers getting their alcohol? How much do they drink? And what sort of problems do young people experience in connection to alcohol?

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