10-14 years: “I’m a risk taker"

Also known as the pre-teen stage, this is the age when your child starts to have their own interests and opinions and is eager to experiment and take risks. They will spend more time socialising with their friends, which means less time at home, with you.

Your child is going through a lot of physical, mental, emotional and social changes about now. They’re trying to balance being responsible while dealing with peer pressure and the onset of puberty, and it’s not easy for them.

More independence and less supervision from you puts your child at greater risk of unintentional injuries. Especially when you add alcohol, tobacco and drugs into the mix of safety issues.

This is a challenging time for parents and whānau, as you try to keep them safe while giving them the freedom to express who they are.

For more detailed information about child development in these years see the information online at Parent Help for Parent and Family Support: Parent Help (13 Years)

What you need to know about your pre-teen

  • They want to test their limits.

  • They will take risks and think about the consequences later.

  • Peer pressure may make them do and try things they wouldn’t normally consider.

Top tips

  • Discuss the importance of wearing a seatbelt so they take responsibility for their own car safety when they are with friends.

  • Talk about the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bike or a skateboard, to protect their head from a serious injury if they fall.

  • Talk with them about the dangers of drugs, drinking, and smoking and ask them to tell you what they think about these things.

  • Discuss the importance of having friends who are interested in positive activities, and who do not pressure them to make unhealthy choices.

  • Explain why you need to know where they are and who they are with, and what time they will be home. Explain it’s so you can make sure they are safe and not because you’re being nosey!

  • Talk about the importance of having some rules when they are home alone or with friends, so that they know how to handle situations that can be dangerous (emergencies, fire, drugs etc.)

Parenting Resource Material from Parent Help for Parent and Family Support, is reused with permission.

Read about all the other safety topics for your child below