AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —The world we live in today is vastly different than it was 15-20 years ago, even 10 years ago. Our kids are experiencing and dealing with issues we never had to as teens. There is a lot of pressure with teens today (fitting in, cyber bullying, academics, etc.), this is real pressure as well as self-induced pressure. Here are 10 common issues teens face today:
· Suffer from body image issues
o Social media, unrealistic examples, changes in body during puberty.
· Long to belong to supportive and accepting communities beyond family.
o Some struggle to find their place in society and be recognized by peers. This pressure can lead to anxiety.
· Stress and difficulty prioritizing and managing time.
o Numerous activities, push for excellence in all they do.
· Lots of pressure from peers, parents and society to conform to conflicting expectations.
o Parents living vicariously through their kids, trying to keep up with peers and comparing themselves to others.
· Risk of mental and physical health issues.
o Poor nutrition (eating out of a bag), lack of sleep (screen time, worry), depression and anxiety.
· Lack of positive role models and heroes.
o Media glorifying bad behavior, materialism/ physical appearance is viewed as most important vs what really is (family, friends, community, God).
· Drugs and alcohol.
o If teens want to use more than likely have a way to get it. Teens have a laissez-faire attitude toward substance use. Lot of more dangerous drugs out there for them to be involved (oxy, fentanyl). Using leads to increased sexual behavior. Consent during these times is a big concern.
· On-screen violence and unhealthy social media.
o Social media when used irresponsibly is problematic. Violent content in video games, pornography, opportunity to be groomed sexually.
o 1 in 3 students day they have been bullied at school. Does not stop at the school house door by being on-line.
· Risky sexual activity/behavior
o More than half of teens in the US have had sex by age 18. Risk for pregnancy, STDs. More than half of STD diagnosis each year is with individuals 15-24.
What can we do.
· Don’t ignore parental duties. Take the cell phone/ shut off the computer and spend time with your kids.
· Take responsibility for our teens. Let them know we are with them regardless.
· Build strong lines of communication.
· Have established rules and be consistent with them.
· Listen to them… let them know you don’t have all the answers but together you will figure it out and get through it.
· Discipline vs punishment. Teens do not respond well to punishment. Make sure your policies are helping not hurting.
· Be graceful enough to thank, appreciate and love them at every possible occasion.
*Kids go where there is excitement but stay where there is love. Zig Zigler