Just being a teenager is hard. No matter how wonderful any family is, being a teenager means your body is changing, your hormones are surging and people are constantly telling you what to do, where to go, how to be, what to wear, how to act. As teenagers attempt to deal with the pressures of school, grades and homework, not to mention trying to fit in or belong, they are also forced to face and digest an ever-increasing litany of scary and potentially life-changing events that continually seem to be happening all over the world.

Let's face it, young people today are dealing with much more than any generation prior. To give you a sense of what we mean, in the 1940s a survey was done with teachers asking them to outline the biggest challenges they faced with students. The responses included things such as chewing gum, talking out of turn, tardiness and lingering. The same survey done recently pointed to issues such as alcohol, drug abuse, violence, rape and even suicide. Our kids need our support.

Find out what it's like to walk in your son's or daughter's shoes. If your child is dealing with obesity or a food addiction, there may be much more going on. Perhaps they are getting teased, left out, humiliated, maybe physically hurt, beaten up or even violated in some way. You won't know unless you listen with compassion. Make it safe for your son or daughter to share the truth of his or her experience. Telling your child to "just go on a diet" or "just stop eating" is not the answer. If it was, they would have done that long ago.


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