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.

· Bullying

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