Prearranged times?

Most teenagers understand that parents do worry and that they do have to be home by a certain time. But making the concept work in practice can sometimes be a bit tricky. Here are a few ideas that might help.  

REACH AN AGREEMENT

Discuss a suitable ”home by” time with your teenager. Listen to what your child thinks, to their opinions, but remember you don’t have to be totally in agreement.

Most teenagers find it easier to stick to an agreement and come home on time if you’ve talked things over together, even if they expect you, as their parent, to have the final say.

Teenage girl drink tea.
Photo: Pablo Frisk

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

Siri, aged 15, Gothenburg

If your teenager disregards what you’ve agreed, tell them how agreements are about mutual respect. And try to trust that your child is hearing what you say, even if you don’t get a clear response.  

"If we, as adults, agree on shared rules with other parents, we can be extra clear when talking to our children and, at the same time, feel supported by one another as parents. Our teenagers may not always show that they’re listening, but they are hearing what we say and know where we stand. And that creates security for our youngsters.” 

Sofie Ahlholm, Public Health Strategist, Norrtälje.

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 if they can all come home together at a set time, for example. But you don’t have to do what everyone else does – the most important thing is to stick to your principles and show that you care. 

STAND UNITED AS A FAMILY

It’s important to be consistent, if you’re going to ensure that your teenager respects times. If one parent says be home at 11pm and the other says 1.30 am, it sends mixed signals and means a lack of clarity for the teenager.

Try to present a united front, even if you have different views on the subject or don’t live together – focus on your shared concern for your child.  

AVOID PRECISE TIMES

Coming home at a precise time can be tricky. Something could happen on the way, like the bus being late or the walk taking longer than expected. So try to show some understanding if your teenager comes home 15 minutes late.

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

Back to The Teenage Phrasebook home page