Parenting teens: Introduction

Parenting teens: Introduction

Teenage years are growth years and ones of great change. Most things about your teenager's world are changing. Don't let your love be one of them.

Key points to rememer

  • teenage years are ones of great change
  • most things about their world are changing - don't let your love be one of them
  • the family (whānau) is the most important building block for a healthy teen
  • parenting a teenager can be a lot of fun if you follow a few basic guidelines
  • teens who spend time, talk, and have a close relationship with their parents, are much less likely to drink, take drugs or have sex

Most things about their world are changing. Don't let your love be one of them.

"I'm in a no-win situation right now. Sometimes you treat me like a child, but when I act like one, you tell me to grow up and behave like an adult. You say I’m hard to live with. Well … wear my skin for a while".


Image of poster with mother and son and the words "Most things about their world are changing. Don't let your love be one of them."

 

Teenage years are ones of great change

You know it. They know it. Teenage years are growth years and ones of great change. Not only are their bodies growing but also their brains - which continue to develop until their early to mid 20s. Teens need food, sleep, and exercise and lots of love and support - the same as for a child, but in different ways.

The family (whānau) is the most important building block

The family (whānau) is the most important building block for a healthy teen, with a safe and secure home being the place they can learn and grow. Just like the tupuna tamariki, who believed that they would not be harmed whatever they did, today's kids now need to believe this too. They must know and trust everyone in their home.

Parenting a teenager can be a lot of fun if you follow a few basic guidelines

Parenting a teenager isn't easy, but it can be a lot of fun if you follow a few basic guidelines, such as keeping a close relationship, supporting your kids as they learn from their mistakes, and serving as a good role model.

Current alcohol law reform policy has highlighted an increase in parental responsibility around the supply and supervision of alcohol to young people. With new research available on the harmful effects of alcohol consumption, it is important for parents/caregivers to be informed about the risks and supported in ways to minimise the harm to their teenagers.

By adolescence, your kids should know the facts about alcohol and your attitudes and beliefs about other drug use. Now is the time to focus on what you’ve already taught them and work on keeping the lines of communication open.

Tools for building a stronger bond with your teen

Teens who spend time, talk, and have a close relationship with their parents, are much less likely to drink, take drugs or have sex

The information in 'Parenting teens' offers you some simple ways to improve your communication and build a stronger bond with your son or daughter. The material draws upon principles from the Tikanga Whakatipu Ririki model and from positive parenting techniques. It focuses on the topic of alcohol in particular but the same principles may be applied to most topics challenging young people and their parents/caregivers.

Try not to be overwhelmed by all of the material.

Pick just one idea at a time – think about it and give it a try for at least a month to see what changes might happen. It’s never too late to strengthen your relationship with your teen – you just have to stick with it – and find what works.

The content above is based on pages 2-3 below (PDF, 167KB) from the Whānau pack: Tools for families and parents with teenagers.Image of the cover of "Whanau pack" booklet

The Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation are very grateful to Northland District Health Board (NDHB) for permission to reproduce this content from the Whānau pack: Tools for families and parents with teenagers (PDF, 4.16MB)

Copyright
NDHB own the copyright in this material and it must not be copied or reproduced except as expressly permitted by NDHB. 

This page last reviewed 19 February 2015.
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