NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: advice for parents of teenagers.
Mark Gregston helps young people in crisis. He runs a residential counseling facility, sort of a cross between a Young Life camp and a recovery center. For 40 years now, Heartlight Ministries has helped thousands of families coping with crises.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Gregston also hosts a radio program called “Parenting Today’s Teens.” On this week’s Listening In, host Warren Smith and Gregston talk about those often difficult teenage years.
WARREN SMITH: It seems to me that the American teenager’s in something of a crisis right now. And I’m just wondering if that’s what you think.
MARK GREGSTON: Yeah. You know, I do think they are. And here’s the reason why. Kids have been the same in one sense for, since the beginning of time. They want the same things. They long for the same things. It’s just, it’s just that so many other things have been accelerated that what it’s done with any teen today is that where people usually get their value and their self esteem and have a release of anxiety and depression and all is in relationships with one another. And our kids do not have the relationships that you and I used to have.
I mean even that they don’t have the relationships, you know that that five years ago were somewhat normal. Our kids today are spending so much time looking at a screen that the issue isn’t the screen. The issue is the opportunity costs that goes along with that. That just basically says, I’m spending time looking at something but I’m not spending time engaging with one another. And God created every one of us to be relational. And if He did that and we don’t have those relational needs met, that’s when kids start doing stupid stuff and, and pulling stunts and getting somewhat crazy. You know, trying to figure out how do I get my value, how do I get those things that are relationship provided that they’re just not getting?