Becoming a parent is not easy for anyone, but it’s particularly challenging for rangatahi (young people), who are still developing mentally, physically and emotionally themselves and trying to find their way in the world.
Taking on the responsibility of a child at a young age may require extra support and encouragement – both emotional and financial.
But with the right support and tools, it’s easier for rangatahi to parent their pēpi to the best of their ability and enjoy the rewarding journey of parenthood.
Here are our top tips for supporting young parents:
Offer whānau support
Offer help if one of your family members is a young parent. Offer guidance, emotional support and advice but also encourage them to be independent. Help them with practical things like meals, budgeting, housework and looking after baby so they can have a break.
Support from friends
Friends are hugely important to rangatahi and they need to maintain ties with them so they don’t feel cut off and isolated, especially if they are the only person in their friend group with a baby.
Find other young parents
Finding other young parents in the community in the same situation can be really helpful. They can support and help each other and understand the challenges faced as a young parent.
Offer old baby gear
Having a baby can be expensive and young parents may not be in a strong financial position. If you know a young parent and you have baby clothes, toys, a pram, cot, car seat or anything else useful you don’t need any more, then offer it up.
There are lots of support services and organisations out there to help young parents, such as:
- Thrive Teen Parent Support Trust
- The Salvation Army
- Association of Teen Parent Educators of NZ
- Work and Income
- Citizens Advice Bureau.
The Kiwi Families website has a web page with information and contact details for these organisations.