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Young Parents

Young parents are tackling a whole new set of challenges, which can affect their confidence and wellbeing. They often need extra support to help them in their parenting role.

Young parents are often still figuring out who they are, while at the same time learning how to be a parent, partner, caregiver, and role model. One of the biggest challenges for young parents can be having the confidence to trust their instincts, and stay positive about the road ahead.

With your support and encouragement to feel confident in their new role, young mums and dads are capable of tackling new challenges and being fantastic parents.

Keeping an eye out

While young parents are generally resourceful and resilient, here are some things you may notice, which might suggest they could do with a bit more support:

  • Being irritable, frustrated, stressed out, or angry a lot of the time
  • Looking exhausted, being forgetful and unable to concentrate
  • Being overwhelmed with their new responsibilities

New mums: If a new mum is irritable, anxious, depressed, having a lot of trouble sleeping, or saying she's a bad mother, she could be showing signs of postnatal depression. She will need to talk to her doctor or Plunket nurse about getting some extra support.

Healthy conversations

It’s important to stay involved with the young parents you are supporting, and show them they don’t have to go it alone. It's a good idea to:

  • Ask them how they are getting on and coping, and remind them that it’s normal to feel stressed sometimes
  • Ask them what you can do to support them
  • Let them know how well they are doing
  • Encourage them to take care of themselves, and to look after their own health. Suggest that you take some time to hang out together, and do something relaxing without the kids 
  • If you are a parent yourself it can be helpful to share tips and information, but remember this is their journey to navigate - don’t try to do the job for them

Taking action

The more people there are around to help out, the better - rally the whānau and get everyone involved in supporting the young parent and their children. Ensure you:

  • Stay involved in their lives and do things you can enjoy together such as taking them out to see a movie, going for a walk and having a catch-up
  • Encourage other family members to pitch in, help out, and show support however they can
  • Babysit for them when possible, and encourage them to take time out for themselves
  • Help them find a support group with other parents
  • Acknowledge the young person’s ability to be a capable and responsible parent
  • Encourage them to look after themselves and do the things they love to do; things that make them who they are as an individual, not just as a parent
  • Speak up if you think that they are being treated unfairly, or discriminated against because they are young parents. This might mean going with them to their appointments, learning to be an advocate, or saying something to whoever is treating them unfairly

Resources

Thrive Teen Parent Support Trust

Thrive primarily works with mothers and fathers who have had their first child, or were pregnant with their first child, before the age of 21. 

Youth Service Young Parent Payment

Youth Service aims to get young people into education, training or work-based learning. Youth Service provides a Young Parent Payment - financial support for 16 to 18 year old parents who have a dependent child or children, and are in need of financial assistance.

SKIP – Strategies with Kids, Information for Parents

SKIP works with national and local organisations to support New Zealand parents and provides support, information and parenting strategies for parents and caregivers of children up to 5 years old.

Parents Centres New Zealand

Parents Centres New Zealand Inc provides childbirth and parent education. It offers support to parents at all stages throughout the postnatal and antenatal periods. 

Teen Parent Schools in New Zealand

Teen Parent Schools in New Zealand offers information on the education opportunities available for teen parents in New Zealand and has links to existing schools.

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