Parenting can be both a joy and a challenge. Thankfully there’s lots of great advice out there — the trick is finding the right information and advice to suit your family’s needs and your parenting style.
Support for parents of disabled children
If you’re new to disability, a good first step is to contact a support organisation. Your support organisation’s local branch may be able to put you in touch with other parents and let you know about local coffee groups or Facebook groups you can join. Some support organisations may also provide parenting courses specially designed for parents of children with disabilities.
If you are having difficulty finding a support organisation, you can find a comprehensive directory at the Organisation for Rare Disorders (NZORD).
Parent to Parent is an organisation that provides support to all parents and carers of children with disabilities. They provide information packs for families; organise peer support with other parents; provide support to your child’s siblings through the SibSupport initiative; and offer training programmes for parents and whanau.
A number of support organisations provide access to libraries that offer a range of disability-related resources. In most cases, anyone can borrow resources free of charge from anywhere in the country, although you may have to cover some of the costs of postage. Search the libraries at IHC, Parent to Parent and CCS Disability Action.
General parenting information
Kiwi Families is a general parenting website that goes from birth, right through to the teen years. You’ll find lots of information about child development, as well as a range of articles about family life, recipes and activities for kids.
Kids Health is a joint initiative from the Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation. You’ll find a comprehensive range of health-related information, as well as parenting advice.
The Plunket website has lots of advice about parenting and a good range of ‘ages and stages’ information from birth up to five years of age. There are also good sections on child health and home safety.
Raising Children has information about parenting young children up to the end of primary school with lots of short, entertaining and informative videos.
The Takai website is ideal if your child is experiencing behavioural problems. It provides strategies to help deal with things like tantrums, fighting and fussy eating.
If you’re new to parenting and think you need some advice about caring for your new baby, take a look at the parenting courses offered by Plunket. Another option is the SPACE programme – a year-long programme designed to support first-time parents.
Barnardos is a good organisation to contact if your family needs any kind of support. They also provide a wide range of parenting courses, including courses specifically for dads, although not all courses are provided in every location. Check out what courses are available at Barnardos in your region.
The Incredible Years is a course for parents of children aged 2 – 8. It shows parents how to build a healthy relationship with their child, and how to encourage positive behaviour and address challenging behaviour. You can find a list of providers at the Incredible Years website.
Family Works is part of the Presbyterian Support Network and provides a number of services to help strengthen families. Visit the Family Works website, choose your region and search for parenting courses in your area.
The Parenting Place has articles about raising families. They also facilitate Toolbox Parenting courses, which are tailored for the early years, the middle years, and teens. Take a look at their events page to find courses in your region. There is a cost to attend, but subsidies apply for caregivers and grandparents raising grandchildren.
Strengthening Families is a programme for any whānau or family that needs support from more than one government service or community support organisation. You can choose to opt in to the programme if you need help with things like your child’s education, health or behaviour, to sort out money troubles or find housing. Strengthening Families means you and the agencies that support your family will agree on a plan and the resources you need to meet your family’s goals.
PlunketLine is a free helpline for parents on 0800 933 922. Calls are answered by a Plunket nurse, who can give advice on parenting issues and child health.
Parent Helpline is available 9am – 11pm, seven days a week on 0800 568 856.
Grandparents raising grandchildren provides information and support to grandparents caring for their grandchildren.