The arrival of a baby brings many changes to a family and whanau. All families differ depending on their situation, culture, traditions and support available. When raising a child, support from family, whanau and friends is important, and their involvement often varies depending on how close or far away they are.
Lack of sleep and the demands of parenting can put a strain on your relationships with your partner, children, family, whanau and friends. Talking about these feelings can bring family closer together. As with any time of major change, there are stresses involved and it is important that you allow time to adjust to your new family roles. It may help to talk about your concerns and problems with others.
Family, whanau and friends involved in the care of your child, or who give you advice, will have their own ideas on caring for children. Sometimes these are the same as your ideas, sometimes they may be different.
It may help to discuss ideas and feelings about the best ways to care for your child so your child has consistent care from all those who love and care for them.
Here’s more information on some areas you may require support in.
‘Me’ to ‘we’
Becoming a parent changes our lives in so many ways. On the Raising Children In New Zealand website, parents talk honestly and openly about their experience of moving from ‘me’ to ‘we’, and about their hopes and dreams for their children.
Being emotionally prepared
It’s totally normal to feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster. Parenthood is hard at any age but it’s also so rewarding. It’s a life-long journey and just remember you become wiser through making mistakes and learning from them – so don’t sweat the small stuff.
Having family support and help is really important to help guide and prepare you for being a young parent. Sometimes not all of us are this fortunate but there are services that provide caring advice and guidance.
Your social life
Let’s face it, your friendships are going to change. It might feel like your friends have different priorities, and you’re probably right. You have a little person to take care of now.
Although it might seem like you’re missing out, there is a whole network of friends to be made! Joining teenage parent schools, support groups or old fashioned coffee groups are a great way to meet people with a similar story and stay connected.
If you’re still at school, you might look at attending a teen parents school, choose to study by correspondance, or stop school for the time being.
Local parent groups such as Playcentres, Plunket coffee groups, Te Kohanga Reo, and Aoga Amata can help you develop parenting skills and knowledge.
Dollars and sense
Becoming a parent while you’re young means you probably haven’t had any chance to build up any savings or back up for when things get a bit tight. There is financial assistance available through Work and Income NZ to help manage your finances and support yourself and baby.
You’re not alone
Whatever the reason, you might find yourself single and a parent. Although this may seem scary, there are a lot of support services available to help you and your baby. Being a parent is hard work! But you don’t have to do it alone.
For more information
Here are just some of the places you can turn to for support.
- Plunket: you can access their services if you have a child under 5.
- Thrive: Thrive focus on helping you be the best parent possible.
- Barnados: these guys have heaps of support services for families.
- Birthright: practical and emotional support for single parents.
- Kiwi families: practical parenting advice for all ages and stages.
- Parents centre: parent education, community support and education.
- Atpenz: if you want to continue your education after your baby is born, these guys can help.