Yes or no?

Being a parent often means handling tricky decisions. You’ve been a parent for a while now, and you know what it can be like. You want to show your child that you trust them, but at the same time, you don’t want them to get into trouble. No one else can tell you where you should draw the line for your teenager from one context to another. You’re the one who has to decide what is OK and what is not OK.


Listen to yourself and trust your opinions. As a parent, you have the right to decide what you think is the best thing to do. The more clearly you show your teenager what you expect, the easier it is for your teenager to accept it. And try to stand by what you think, even if someone ends up getting angry. The anger is simply an expression of how hard it can be to deal with a set-back – nothing worse than that.


If you say “No” to something, make sure you tell your teenager why you’re saying it. It’s not about your child deciding whether you’re right or wrong. It’s about them understanding that there are good reasons why you’ve said “No” and that you’re not just saying it for the sake of saying it.

If your parents just say OK all the time, they don't really care.

Eddie, aged 15, Umeå


Teenagers are in the midst of developing their own opinions, and it’s important that they know what their parents think about things. The best thing you can do is to stand up for what you believe and tell them why you want things to be a particular way. Over and over again, if necessary. If you start quarrelling, it’s not the end of the world – it can sometimes be good for both of you to get things off your chest and it’s also a way for teenagers to understand where you draw the line.


You can’t always except yourself to have an opinion or be prepared when an unexpected situation arises. If your teenager asks you something and you’re not really certain what you think, you can try saying that you’d like to think about it and maybe talk to someone else before you give them your answer. It’s about showing respect for your teenager and showing them that taking a stand on different issues isn’t always easy.


Letting things slide doesn’t make you a nicer parent. Teenagers don’t need another friend – they need an adult they can rely on. The trick is to be close to your child, be able to talk about anything and everything, to share confidences – and, at the same time, to be an adult.

More to read about the same topic

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.

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.

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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