For our latest safety information, see the Be Safe, Feel Safe booklet.
Many teenagers are still learning to be responsible for their own safety and wellbeing. Clear guidelines and regular communication can be useful for encouraging your teenager to make good decisions and stay out of harm’s way.
Your advice is important, even though you may not feel like it’s always welcomed.
Advice for families, whanau and caregivers:
- Make sure you know what your teenager is going and that you can contact each other at anytime.
- Support your teenager to cope with stress – exercise, music and talking about problems can all be effective tools.
- Encourage your teenager to ignore peer pressure if they do not want to do something or feel uncomfortable.
- Watch out for signs that your teenager may be getting bullied – if you have any concerns, raise these with a school teacher or counsellor.
- If your teenager babysits, meet the employers and check all arrangements carefully.
Restricted licence drivers are involved in more crashes than any other driving group (including learner drivers). Parents play a key role in guiding and promoting safe driving habits. Protect them by setting clear rules for when they drive, which comply with the conditions of their licence. Set a good example with your own driving habits.
Attending an approved driving skills programme is worthwhile. Drivers learn how to identify and avoid or handle potential driving hazards. Passing an approved driving course also reduces the time needed to stay on a restricted licence.
When your teenagers go out, check transport arrangements. If necessary take your teenagers and bring them home, no matter how inconvenient. Teach them never to ride with a driver who has been drinking.
The New Zealand Transport Agency provides more information about young drivers.
Teenagers and alcohol
There are things you can do to help reduce alcohol-related risks for your teenagers. Remember, not drinking alcohol is the safest option. Here are some other things to bear in mind:
- Delay: Most teenagers obtain alcohol from a parent, caregiver or family member. Research shows the younger you begin drinking, the more likely you are to drink harmfully later in life.
- Small amounts: Teenagers have a lower alcohol tolerance. If you decide to supply alcohol to your teenager, only give small amounts and favour low-alcohol drinks.
- Talk openly: Encourage an open and honest dialogue about alcohol and drugs, while setting clear boundaries and expectations.
- Supervise: Consider an alcohol-free party if teenagers are present. An adult will need to supervise if you serve alcohol. If your teenager is at a party where alcohol is being served, the adult hosts must have your consent to supply them with alcohol.
- Driving: The alcohol limit for anyone aged under 20 is zero. If your teenager drinks and drives, they can be charged.
If you think your teenager has a drug or alcohol problem, contact the Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797.
If a teenager is unconscious or vomiting continuously put them on their side with their head turned to one side (the recovery position) and call 111 for an ambulance.
Alcohol.org.nz provides more information for parents and caregivers.