When other people’s kids are in trouble

If you find out or suspect that someone else’s teenager is drinking, doing drugs, or in a bad place, you can try to do something about it. But you have to handle it sensibly, even if it’s not your child who’s involved. Here are a few things you need to bear in mind.

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 intervene. Let your son or daughter know what you’re intending to do, so that he or she doesn’t feel that you’re breaking their confidence.

My friends drink a lot when I'm out with them because they know I'll take care of them when they're drunk and throwing up, and stuff.

Nadia, aged 16, Gothenburg

Don’t take on the role of guidance officer all by yourself

Get help from other adults. First and foremost, you need to get in touch with the teenager in question’s parents. If they don’t address the situation, you can always contact 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 caring what happens.

Why should I tell my parents about things that involve my friends? They're not my parents friends, after all.

Hannes, aged 16, Umeå

Talk to other sensible people

If something’s happened, there are numerous organisations that are used to talking to both teenagers and their parents about all sorts of issues and concerns. You’ll find some suggestions here. Or maybe you know someone who has had a similar experience, that you could talk to.

More to read about the same topic

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.

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?

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.

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.

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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