Parenting Teens

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. Most things about their world are changing. Don't let your love be one of them. You might like to start with Parenting teens: Introduction.

Father and teenage daughter looking and laughing at something on a mobile phone

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.

The brain develops very rapidly in the first 3 to 5 years of life, and all the structure and building blocks are present by the age of 9. Find out when the different centres of the brain develop.

New research has found that teenagers are so different because their brains are undergoing a BIG change, which starts around puberty and continues through to their mid-20s.

Children and teenagers' emotional wellbeing is better when whānau can get the right support. Kiwi families have access to parenting support to improve emotional wellbeing for our tamariki.

Teenagers need an average of 9 hours of sleep each night.

To be a more effective parent and enjoy a closer family relationship, you need to spend quality family time together.

While the teenage years can at times be stormy and emotional, your kids need to know that you will always be there and what you expect from them.

The best parenting skill you can have is to simply act like one! In order for your kids to respect you, you must give them a person worth respecting.

Be the kind of person you want your teenager to grow up to be.

Kids whose parents know who their friends are, where they are - and what they are up to - are less likely to get into trouble.

Kids that feel close to one or more parents tend to do better in life. Listen to your teenager ... when they are ready to talk. Be open and tell the truth.

Alcohol is our most common recreational drug. Not drinking is the safest option for young people under 18 years of age.

Alcohol is our most common recreational drug. Not drinking is the safest option for young people under 18 years of age.

If your teenager is experiencing bullying, anxiety or depression, there are some things you can do to support them. It is important to get help if you are concerned about your teen's emotional and mental wellbeing. 

Alcohol is our most common recreational drug. Those under 15 years of age are at the greatest risk of harm from drinking, and not drinking in this age group is especially important. 

Look for opportunities to talk about drugs with your teenager. Talk with your teens about ways they can so no to alcohol or other drugs, without them losing face with their friends. Be informed about drugs.

Parties are part of the fun in growing up and a good way for young people to be able to mix with others. Plans and boundaries help to keep your teenager safer.

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. 

There are many reasons why people self harm. The most important thing to do is to listen. It is very important to encourage talking as that is a much better way to help the intensity of emotions than to self harm.

All children explore different ways of expressing their gender. For some children, gender can be fluid. Be open to wherever your child's gender journey leads. Find out how to support your gender diverse younger child or teen, and where to get your own support. Check the resources for takatāpui and whānau, and Pasifika young people.

The online world is changing rapidly, and chances are most teenagers will see, or have seen, pornography (porn). Talking about porn can feel awkward at first, but young people tell us that they want, and need, better porn conversations and support from adults. 

Many children come across porn now, whether it’s by accident, a friend has shown them, or because they’re curious. Porn is easier to find than avoid. Over a quarter of children have seen porn by age 12. Having simple and age-appropriate conversations around porn with children is a great way to help protect and prepare them to navigate their online world.

Talking with your tamariki about sex can be difficult but it is important. If you want to be involved in shaping your child's ideas and attitudes about sex, start these conversations early.

Vaping rates in rangatahi (young people) continue to increase in Aotearoa. Vaping is harmful to tamariki (children) and rangatahi - it can have an impact on their health and wellbeing. 

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