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 have to agree – children expect parents to have the final say. But once you’ve talked things over between you, most teenagers say they find it easier to stick to an agreement and come home on time. If your teenager repeatedly disregards what you’ve agreed, talk to them about agreements which are, fundamentally, about showing each other respect. And try to trust that your child is hearing what you say, even if you don’t get a clear response.
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 arguments teenagers most commonly use as to why they 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 is to talk to the parents of some of your teenager’s friends about establishing a shared set of rules. This also makes it 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 and show that you care.
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
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 your child and have different views on the subject. A united front makes life easier and avoids bickering.
SET AN INTERVAL
Getting home at a precise time can be tricky, and that’s not just true for teenagers. Something could happen on the way – the bus might be late, or the walk might take longer than expected. So try to show some understanding if your teenager comes home 15 minutes late.