Relax while you wait
If you decide to wait up, it’s perfectly OK to just relax and be there. Once your teenager comes home, then you can be alert and ready to listen if he or she wants to talk.
Ask them to wake you
If you simply can’t stay up late, there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn’t have to mean you don’t care. Ask your child to come into your room and gently wake you to let you know that they’ve come home. That way, you’ll know that everything is OK, and you can relax and go back to sleep.
Set your alarm clock
If you’d rather not be woken up and don’t like the idea of lying awake, worrying, you could set an alarm clock to ring in the hall outside your bedroom. Say you set it for half an hour after the time when your teenager’s supposed to be home, if they come home on time, they can simply turn the alarm clock off and you can continue to sleep undisturbed. Otherwise, you’ll wake up and can start investigating why your teenager hasn’t come home.
Keep in touch
Ask your teenager to call or message you at some point in the evening, to check in. Agree a time when you’ll be in touch and what he or she should do if they’re delayed.
If they don’t come home
The first and most important thing is, of course, to find out where your teenager is. But if he or she isn’t answering the phone, you need to contact their friends, or the friends’ parents. If you don’t get an answer, it might be time to go out and start searching, partly because it’s incredibly stressful just sitting and waiting and getting more and more worried, and partly because it can help you worry less if you’re actively doing something constructive. It can also act as a clear signal to your teenager that you care and that the time you agreed actually means something. Make sure you agree in advance what you will do, if necessary.