Parenting teens: When things go wrong

Parenting teens: When things go wrong

Even with the best parents in the world, young people can still get into trouble. Most teenagers will experiment with alcohol and getting it wrong is not uncommon. 

Key points to remember

  • even with the best parents in the world, young people can still get into trouble
  • most teenagers will experiment with alcohol and getting it wrong is not uncommon
  • if your teen does get very drunk, is unconscious or vomiting continuously, don't leave them alone. Put them on their side in the recovery position, make sure they are breathing and their mouth is empty. Keep them warm
  • if you are unable to wake them, dial 111 in New Zealand for an ambulance immediately (dial the appropriate emergency number in other countries)

A teenage boy sitting against a tree

What to do

Even with the best parents in the world, young people can still get into trouble. Most teenagers will experiment with alcohol and getting it wrong is not uncommon. While some young people may periodically drink heavily, most get through it OK!

What if your teenager:

Mural with the words "Never give up home"

  • goes to a party when you have forbidden it?
  • steals alcohol from your drinks cupboard?
  • comes home drunk, vomiting?
  • is completely wasted and you have to collect them from a party?

Remember:

  • go back to any agreements you had made earlier
  • if you agreed on consequences then you must follow through with these
  • give them the opportunity to explain what happened
  • don't try to reason with a drunken teenager- wait until the morning when they are sober and you are less angry
  • explain to them why their behaviour is unacceptable to you and how you feel about it

If you are unable to wake them, dial 111 for an ambulance immediately.

If your teen does get very drunk, is unconscious or vomiting continuously, don't leave them alone. Put them on their side in the recovery position, make sure they are breathing and their mouth is empty. Keep them warm.

If you are unable to wake them, dial 111 for an ambulance immediately (dial the appropriate emergency number in other countries).

If you are concerned that your teen has a drinking problem, seek out professional help and advice. The Alcohol Drug Helpline is a great place to start and is free to phone between 10am and 10pm daily on 0800 787 797.

The content above is based on pages 55-56 below (PDF, 451KB) 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 27 February 2015.
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