Waiting up?

Should you stay up at night, waiting until your teenager strolls through the door, or can you rely on them coming home as planned? Approaches and opinions are obviously going to differ here. Some teenagers feel a sense of security if their parents are up when they come home. Others feel that if their parents go to bed, it shows that they trust them. But they probably all want their parents to notice if something goes wrong.  


Ask your teenager to call or message at some point during the evening, to check in. Agree a time when you’ll be in touch and what they should do if they’re delayed. 


Many people feel happier staying up until their teenager comes home. If that’s the case for you, it’s perfectly OK to just be there, and to pay attention if your child wants to talk about something that’s happened during the evening.

"I never get home in time. As long as I come home, my parents are happy".

Ted, aged 16, Umeå


If you simply can’t stay up late, there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t mean that you don’t care. Ask you child to come into your room and gently wake you when they come home. That way, you’ll know that everything is OK, and you can relax and go back to sleep. 


If you want to go to bed but also want to know that your child has come home, set your alarm for shortly after the time you’ve agreed. If your teenager has come home, you can simply go back to bed again. 


The first and most important thing is, of course, to find out where your teenager is. If they don’t answer their phone, try contacting your teenager’s friends or their parents. If you don’t get an answer there either, it might be time to go out and start searching, because it’s incredibly stressful just sitting at home worrying and it might feel good to be actively doing something about your concerns.

It can also act as a clear signal that you care and that the time you agreed actually means something.  

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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