The Kiwi teenager faces some major challenges and risks:
- Teenagers, for example, are involved in a significant number of our road accidents.
- Internationally, our teenage pregnancy rate is very high.
- Our legal drinking age is only 18 years, and
- Alcohol consumption is a pervasive part of young persons’ culture in New Zealand.
Teenagers think they are bulletproof. As a parent therefore, think about how your can minimise the consequences of risk taking by your teenager - and prepare yourself for that possible late night emergency phone call.
Give thought, for example, to appropriate rules for the use of the family car. Discuss and reach agreement over late nights.
Learn how to send text messages on the cellphone. It is a discreet way for your daughter or son to let you know where they are and what they are doing on a late night.
Create a home environment in which they can comfortably discuss difficult subjects such as safe sex and contraception. Be nonjudgmental. The decision is going to be theirs so make sure they are well-informed.
For information on the drugs, see Barnardos information sheet no.46, Being drug aware - a guide for parents.
For more information should your teen son or daughter become a parent, see Barnardos information sheets no.37, Teenage dads and Teen mums.