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? This is obviously going to differ from one family to another, but the important thing is that you, as a parent, are happy with the situation. Some teenagers feel a sense of security if their parents are up when they come home. While others feel that if their parents go to bed, it shows that they trust them. But the one thing they all have in common is that they all want their parents to notice if something’s gone wrong.


If you decide to wait up, it’s perfectly OK to just relax and be there. Once your teenager comes home, pay attention and be ready to listen if they want to talk.


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.


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 figure out why your teenager hasn’t come home.


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.


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, it might be time to go out and start searching, partly because it’s incredibly stressful just sitting at home waiting and getting more worried, and partly because just getting out and actively doing something about your concerns can feel good. 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.

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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