Talk to them about the big issues

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Before they start going out alone it's important that you've talked to them about issues such as underage sex, drugs, smoking and drinking to prepare them for the wider world. Show them for more information or give them these helplines and websites:

R U Thinking is a great site for under 18s with advice on sex, relationships and contraception.

FRANK talks to them in their language about advice on drugs 0800 776600

The Know Your Limits campaign gives advice on alcohol and safe drinking for young people. Call the 24-hour helpline free on 0800 917 8282 for advice and information

Get to know their friends

OK, you may not like all their friends, but try to keep your opinions to yourself until you get to know them properly. Then, if you still have misgivings about a friend, tell them why and talk it through. Invite their mates around to your house and, if possible, get to know their parents too.

Encourage them to socialise

You may not want to let them go, and hate the idea of them hanging around the local park, but it is important that they start to explore the wider world, otherwise it will be a very daunting experience in later life.

Socialising is an important part of growing up. Check out local youth clubs they may want to join or if their school runs discos. If they're not the disco type, encourage them to join local sports or drama clubs. If teenagers are 'doing something' they're less likely to get into trouble than if they're just hanging around.

They still need boundaries

They may think they know it all, and can look after themselves, but they don't and they can't.

It's one thing letting them have more freedom to go to the cinema or a disco, but they need definite boundaries. Tell them how often they're allowed out and set times that you expect them home, but take away privileges if they keep breaking the rules. Agree on your ground rules before they become an issue. The boundaries will actually make your child feel safe and secure.

Stick by your rules

Every parent will have different rules. Some will have none! Don't be influenced by: 'but his mum says it's OK to be out until 11pm' conversations. She probably didn't say that, and even if she did, why should you agree to that too? Speak to your child's friends' parents and try to agree some rules together.

- Read more: boost their confidence

More help and advice

Continued below...

- Your teen and their mobile phone
- Ways to encourage their independence
- Teach children the value of money
- Teens and work: the facts

All pages in this article

  1. 1. Time to let go
  2. 2. Talk to them about the big issues
  1. 3. Boost their confidence
  2. 4. More help

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