Prearranged times?

Most adults would probably agree that rules and prearranged times are a good idea when you have teenagers in the family. And most teenagers will understand that parents do worry and that they have to be home by a set time. But making the concept work in practice can be a bit tricky sometimes. Here are a few ideas that might help.

Reach an agreement

It’s often a good idea to sit down and discuss a suitable “home by” time with your teenager. Be clear about why prearranged times are important and the sort of things you worry about. Listen to what your child thinks, to their opinions. You don’t absolutely have to agree – children expect parents to have the final say. But once you’ve talked about it together, most teenagers say they find it easier to stick to an agreement and come home on time. If your teenager repeatedly ignores what you’ve agreed, talk to them about agreements which are, fundamentally, about showing each other respect. And try and trust that your child is hearing what you say, even if you don’t get a response then and there.

As adults, we have a shared responsibility for creating the climate in which our children grow up. It’s not always easy, but if the parents discuss the issues before problems arise, it does make life considerably easier.

Lotta Hjalmarsson Österholm, Drug Prevention Coordinator, Östergötland County Council

Talk to other parents

One of the most commonly used arguments by teenagers on the subject of why teenagers don’t like prearranged times is that “everyone else is allowed to…”. But that’s usually just a perception that a lot of teenagers share. One way of dealing with this can be to talk to the parents of some of your teenager’s friends about establishing a shared set of rules. This also makes life easier for your teenagers, because they can all come home together. But you don’t have to do what everyone else does – the most important thing is you stick to your principles.

I sometimes tell my parents that I'm going to see someone they know so that I can stay out longer.

Simon, aged 16, Umeå

Present a united front

It’s important to be consistent if you’re going to ensure that your teenager doesn’t lose respect for the whole prearranged time thing. If one parent says that the teenager can come home at 01.30 when the other has said 23.30, it sends mixed signals. It’s worth striving to present a united front, even if you share custody of a teenager.

A good relationship between parents and their children is the most important thing in ensuring a child doesn’t start drinking. Clarity is also incredibly important. Your child has to know what the rules are and what you expect of them.

Håkan Fransson, Drug Prevention Officer, Öckerö Municipality

Set an interval

The whole “coming home at a precise time” thing can be difficult, and that’s not just true for teenagers. Something could happen en route – the bus might be late, or the walk home might take longer than expected. So try and show a bit of tolerance when your teenager is 15 minutes late home.

More to read about the same topic

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.

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?

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.

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.

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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