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Bringing Up Teenagers

In preparation for this week's giveaway, "Bringing Up Girls", I came across an interesting article in Maclean's on teenage girls. It hasn't been that long since I've been out of high school but times have definitely changed.   It's interesting to compare the secular media perspective to the issues Dr. Dobson brings up in his book. In each case the stats are scary.

More than ever do we need books like "Bringing Up Girls". More than ever do these girls need to hear the message of Christ. That they are loved despite everything. That they are cherished. That tears are cried for them.

These issues are real and are happening at schools all over Ottawa and beyond. These issues need to be taken out of the closet, discussed and dealt with.

As Dobson says, these are the women of the next generation. What are we doing to shape them? Our Youth Groups need to be places that take these girls in with open, loving, accepting arms. A place where they can learn their true identity and value without judgment.

One teenage girl at my church recently attended a large youth conference outside of Toronto. When she returned she said it was worse than her high school for cattiness and cliques. My heart breaks. How is this possible that our teens are missing the potential they have by so much?

The Maclean's article, Inside the dangerously empty lives of teenage girls, is written by Dr. Leonard Sax, a medical doctor, psychologist, researcher and author outlines in frightening detail the significant shifts that both teenage boys and girls are experiencing.

Here is what he reports from his recent research. Many teenage guys are lazy and unmotivated. They sleep in and easily blow off their school work. They are lost in their violent video games and pornography. They are comfortable abusing alcohol and drugs at parties. They expect girls to give them sexual favors in exchange for acceptance in the social scene.

Many girls on the other hand live under the shadow of anxiety, with 20-25% acting out their anxiety by alcohol and drug abuse, cutting or burning themselves, and developing an eating disorder. They will hide in their rooms with their computer, facebooking all night. They edit their photos to make themselves look thinner, remove blemishes and try to create the perfect image. They will offer up those sexual favors to guys, almost always one way and completely detached from love or a sense of relationship, just to fit in with the popular crowd. They deal with many symptoms of anxiety disorders and yet, when you see them, they look beautifully put together and confident.

Only God can break these teenagers free of the bondage that is holding them down. I pray we embrace the teenagers in our lives and that we all truly embrace the message of Jesus and the freedom only He can offer.

My prayer is from the Hillsong song "You'll Come":
Chains be broken
Lives be healed
Eyes be opened
Christ is revealed

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