A career counsellor says she's had parents asking her to see their intermediate-age children for career counselling, but her message to them is they should let them play.
Hana Lambert told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp the pressure on school students to decide on a career can be ridiculous.
"I've had Year Eight, intermediate students, their parents wanting me to see them for career counselling. Now it's a little bit like 'let them play!'" she said.
A group of Albany Senior High School students said the pressure is on them to choose.
"You're expected to make a choice about whether or not you're going to go to uni, or if you want to take a gap year, or if you want to travel? What do I do?" one student said.
Another said: "People do say, 'You don't have to choose right away.' But the subjects you choose in Year 11 set you up for Year 12. And the ones you choose in Year 12 ones set you up for year 13."
Ms Lambert said 'What do you want to be?' is not the right question to ask young people.
"That's the quintessential question that every young person dreads. I think that when young people say, 'Yes, yes, I've got it all sorted', it's a bit of a deflection to keep people off their backs."
Some Albany Senior High School students have had enough with the mixed messages they receive.
"We're told, 'You're going to work so many careers in your life because machines are doing jobs now.' But then we're also being asked to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Those are two very different messages," one said.
Ms Lambert says many parents are not up to speed on how the workforce has changed.
"A while ago, to have a portfolio that said you were only somewhere for two years was a bit of a flag - 'why are they chopping and changing?' Whereas now, having a long time in one industry or one job can sometimes be seen as, 'Oh, why have they been there that long. Are they afraid to tackle change?'
"It's not a career for life now, it is a starting point," she said.
A career expert says the question is putting a lot of pressure on young people.
Source: Seven Sharp
It's not the biggest ball in the country - but you'd be hard pushed to find bigger smiles.
The Unforgetaball in Christchurch brings together hundreds of special needs revellers for a night to remember.
The ball is the brain child of doting mums Linda te Kaat and Tania Grose.
"We thought we might only get a few people along the first year, but we completely sold out and it's just got bigger and bigger and bigger," Linda told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.
Shelley Water, a mum of one of the attendees, is grateful for the Unforgetaball.
"A lot of our young ones don't get to go to their school balls, a lot do but for some it's a bit more difficult.
"I think Linda and Tanya had a vision where they thought, 'Let's have a ball where young ones can come and feel safe and nobody's looking at them and nobody's judging them' and it was so successful," Shelley says.
The ball has a DJ, band, disco ball, and, of course, a stretch limousine.
Making sure some special youngsters also get to enjoy their own special night.
Mike Thorpe met two ball-goers who like to work hard and play hard.
Source: Seven Sharp