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When reading about the lives of teens in modern times many patterns begin to form. There are numerous challenges that teens have in common. Because the youth of today face many challenges and obstacles, the family relationship remains crucial in helping them build resilience and giving them tools needed in order to handle day-to-day stressors.

Adults often try to understand and help teenagers though at times it is difficult to know what our children are facing in their lives. In 2014 a study was produced by the Diocese of Gary Diocesan Youth Council (DYC). This study was done with careful deliberation by teens throughout Northwest Indiana representing their communities and peers. The teens completing the study hope that adult leaders will use its findings as a gateway to open dialogue with youth.

In creating the list of challenges that teens face in our society, they used thoughtful contemplation and came up with 10 issues they felt accurately portrayed obstacles commonly dealt with by their generation. While these 10 issues were not the only topics discussed, they were the ones most commonly faced. The 10 issues included in the list are:

Acceptance of/and by others

Depression

Maintaining faith/spirituality when it is seen as “not cool”

Family situations

The future and pressure to fulfill adult expectations

Social media, both good and bad

Self-esteem

Sex

Stress

Substances, both legal and illegal

If adults keep in mind that teens are wrestling with many pressures and decisions it might help in understanding teen behavior. By having frequent conversations Around the Table, parents have a better chance of figuring out what is going on in their child’s life. Children of all ages want guidance, stability and direction from a parent or other respected adult. To understand your child and help him/her deal with pressures encountered you need to talk together about things that matter to them. During the coming months and years, make it a point to gather your family Around the Table as often as possible and use that time to bond and build a strong family relationship.

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Kaye Frataccia is the program manager for Around the Table. This column solely represents the writer's opinion.

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