New friends

The teenage years are often when new friends enter the picture, maybe because your teenager has changed schools or outgrown 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 than you provide support, when necessary.

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

Armin, aged 16, Umeå

Photo: Pablo Frisk

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. 

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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