Children aged 13-18

Last updated: 22/5-2023

As parents of a teenager you will still have great importance in your child’s life. It is important to not stop being a parent and too quickly turn over too much responsibility to the teenager.

A boy in his teens facepalming.

In their teenage years, many young people begin to liberate themselves from their parents. They will start to take care of themselves and to prepare themselves for adult life. The parents have responsibility for supporting their children in their journey into the adult world. It is important to achieve a balance in order to be able to set limits for the child. At the same time, the child must be able to develop in the new country.


During puberty the body is changed from child to adult. When puberty starts is individual, but for most people it is between the ages of ten and thirteen. It is common that teenagers start to think about their sexuality and their bodies. It is also common to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

Children go to elementary school through the ninth grade. All young people in Sweden who have completed elementary school have a right to a three-year gymnasium education. The gymnasium education provides basic competence for further studies and for a future working life.

A lot happens in a teenager's body, both physically and psychologically.

If your teenager gets sick, you must turn to the health care central where you live.

Some teenagers may need someone to talk with and can then turn to student health care or the Youth Health Offices.

Leisure time is a significant part of a teenager's life. It is also important for a young person's development of his or her own identity.

Many young people listen to music, use the internet, watch TV, do things together with their comrades, etc.

Membership in clubs diminishes when the children are older.

Effects of alcohol

Alcohol is a poison that damages the brain. Young people's brains are more sensitive to its impact because the brain is still developing until the age of 25.

Alcohol has an intoxicating effect and impacts judgement. Young people themselves say that they are more likely to encounter problems when they drink than when they don't. These include arguments, violence, accidents, unwanted sex, drink driving or getting into a car with a drunk driver.


  • You have to be over 20 to purchase alcohol from Systembolaget.
  • You have to be over 18 to be served alcohol in a restaurant.
  • You also have to be over 18 to purchase Folköl (low to mid strength beer available in supermarkets).
  • Selling alcohol to people under the legal drinking age or buying it on their behalf is punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

The effects of tobacco

Many young people who start smoking or taking snus become addicted and it can be difficult to stop.

Nicotine is an addictive substance which is found in tobacco products. Nicotine raises the heart rate and increases blood pressure. Blood circulation and fitness are impaired. Smoking increases the risk of a range of diseases, such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular diseases and cancer.


  • Age limit of 18 years.
  • Tobacco products may be sold to those aged 18 years or above.
  • Tobacco products may not be sold to anyone if there is a suspicion that they will be passed on to a person under the age of 18. This is known as peddling.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all premises used for childcare, school activities or any other activities for children and young people.
  • The smoking ban also applies to schoolyards or equivalent outdoors areas at preschools and youth centres – 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
  • The smoking ban applies to all premises used for healthcare.
  • The smoking ban applies to public places, such as theatres and cinemas, trains and buses, shops, cafés and restaurants.

The effects of cannabis

Many young people who smoke cannabis say that they think it makes them feel good and happy – sometimes it makes them giggly and then they feel more calm and relaxed. But not everybody has the same experiences.

Cannabis also has undesirable effects that can be long-lasting. The brain is affected and this can result in being easily distracted and responding in an absent-minded manner. It can become difficult to remember things that have just happened, as well as finding it difficult to learn new things. Other serious consequences can include anxiety, panic attacks and depression. Furthermore, cannabis smoke contains more carcinogenic substances than tobacco smoke.

Cannabis use can lead to a range of social consequences: problems at school, different groups of friends and conflicts at home. If your child uses drugs and this is reported to the police, it can lead to difficulties in, for example, obtaining a driving licence or travelling to countries such as the USA. It can also be problematic when applying for certain types of work.


  • Cannabis is by far the most commonly used illegal drug among young people.
  • All handling of cannabis is illegal – growing, selling, buying, using and storing.
  • The cannabis being sold and used today is several times stronger than the cannabis that was around in the 1970s.
  • Spice, which has become increasingly common, consists of dried herbs that have been sprayed with synthetic cannabis. Spice is stronger than cannabis and is more difficult to detect with a drug test.
  • Most young people who smoke cannabis begin by smoking ordinary cigarettes.
  • Many are under the influence of alcohol when they first try cannabis.
  • The most common way to get hold of cannabis is either from friends or from friends of friends – this often happens at private parties

There are various places in the municipality to which you can turn in order to get advice and support, to receive parenting training, or to share experiences with other parents.