DON’T GO BEHIND PEOPLE’S BACKS
If your teenager tells you something about a friend and you don’t think it’s right to keep quiet about it, you have to explain why you feel that way. It’s not about telling tales – it’s about caring what happens. Your teenager has chosen to tell you, so they’re probably hoping, that you’ll act on the information. Let your child know what you’re intending to do, so that they don’t feel that you’re breaking a confidence.
If I had a friend who drank a lot, I’d tell my parents. But I don’t think they’d do anything.
Nellie, aged 15, Gothenburg
DON’T TAKE ON THE ROLE OF GUIDANCE OFFICER ALL BY YOURSELF
If you’re worried about another teenager, get help from other adults. Start by getting in touch with the teenager in question’s parents, as long as the concern doesn’t relate to something the parents are doing. If that’s the case, or if they don’t act on your concerns, try contacting the school’s Guidance Officer or the social services. The important thing is that someone reacts quickly. No teenager should have to suffer without any adult noticing or caring what happens.
HOME CIRCUMSTANCES THAT GIVE CAUSE FOR CONCERN
Studies have shown that around 320,000 children in Sweden have been negatively affected by growing up with at least one parent who has an alcohol problem. The environment for children and young people living in close proximity with an adult who drinks too much is often a very unpredictable one, and increases the risk of a deterioration in both health and educational outcomes. But it can be difficult to know what to do and how you can best be of help. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to solve all of the problems at once. Showing that there’s an adult who cares can be a big help. Simple actions, like asking how they’re doing, setting an extra place at the table, or offering a lift home from training, can be a big help.
Why should I tell my parents about things that involve my friends? They're not my parents friends, after all.
Nadia, aged 16, Gothenburg
TALK TO OTHER SENSIBLE PEOPLE
If you’re worried about someone else’s child, or if something’s happened, it’s a good idea to talk to someone. Maybe there’s someone in your circle who has experience of similar issues and with whom you can share your concerns. There are also a number of different organisations that are used to talking to both teenagers and parents about all sorts of issues and concerns. You’ll find some suggestions here.