Knowing what your child is doing and having rules are important in keeping your child safe.
What you can do
- Get to know their friends and find out who they will be with when they are out.
- Check that they are where they say they are - call the parents if they are sleeping over or going to a party.
- Tell them they should keep their phone on and charged.
- Find out much money they have - be aware of how they are spending it.
- Watch for signs that they may be drinking - taking rucksacks to parties or drink going missing from your home.
- Keep alcohol and medicines locked up.
- Be aware of the effects and signs of using different drugs.
Parties and discos
Decide if you are happy for your child to go to a party or disco.
Contact the host or organisers to check they will be supervised and if alcohol will be available.
Alcohol and the law
Tell the host if you don't want your child drinking.
It is illegal for another adult to give your child alcohol in their house without your permission.
It is also illegal to buy alcohol for people under 18.
Bring and collect your child
Drop your child off and wait until they have gone inside. This can avoid pre-drinking or your child ending up somewhere different.
Collect your child or arrange for another parent to collect them. If their rules or collection times are different to yours, make your own arrangements.
Be available to collect them early, even if they had planned to stay overnight with a friend. It’s reassuring for your child to know that they can ring you at any time and you will collect them.
Let them know that you will help them out no matter what, even if they have broken the rules.
If you are not collecting them, stay up or get up so that you can check they are OK.
Don't give them money for alcohol
If you think they will buy alcohol, don’t give them money.
If they break the rules
If they break the rules, make sure there are consequences. For example, if they don’t leave at the agreed time, go inside to collect them. They may be embarrassed, but they probably won't be late the next time.
Talk to other parents
Agree with other parents that you will tell each other if one child is late or has had alcohol. Let your child know this will happen.
Avoid sleepovers after parties.
If they come home, you can check they are OK.
Parties at home
If you don’t feel comfortable, suggest alternatives.
- a trip to the cinema
- a shopping trip with friends
- an activity at home
Find out who they want to invite
One of the friends may have a reputation for drinking, drugs or making trouble. If so, don’t be afraid to say no to them.
Check for guests bringing alcohol
If alcohol is not allowed at your child's party, make sure their friends don’t bring it into the house. Greet the guests at the door and look out for people bringing bags or rucksacks.
Let parents know if alcohol will be served
If alcohol is allowed, let the other parents know.
Have a plan for how you are going to deal with 'gate crashers'.
Let parents know the times their child will be at your house.
Tell other parents when the party will start and finish, so they know when to expect their child home. Text them to let them know when their child arrives or leaves.
Don’t cover up for other people’s children. Tell them if they get drunk or take drugs, you will tell their parents.