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TEENAGERS ON PANEL DISCUSS CHALLENGES

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"Adolescence, by definition, is a period of intense change," Virginia H. Pearce said during a Women's Conference Session on the "Needs of Youth."

"You have to change from a child to an adult during those years," she added. Sister Pearce, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, was moderator for a panel of five LDS youth from Provo (Utah) High School as the young people discussed adolescence and its challenges. The panelists were Charie Miller, 18; Brandon Woolf, 17; Katie Staheli, 18; Mark Holler, 17; and Wendy Densley, 17. Two of the youth have divorced parents; one youth is surmounting a learning disability.During the session, the panel discussed such topics as change, loneliness, family, friends and chastity. the youth spoke randomly as questions were posed.

In speaking of making friends, Mark explained: "I think that before you can really go out and make lots of friends and be successful socially, you need to find out who you are. It's really hard to extend yourself if you're not really sure what kind of friends you want."

Concerning the influence of friends and moral standards, all the youth spoke of the importance of having good values instilled in them when they are young.

Charie said: "Having relationships within the Church helps because when you go to, like junior high, you're vulnerable. You can come to your Church group friends, and that helps a lot."

Speaking of setting and reaching goals, Brandon spoke of having practiced the piano from the time he was young, and then having a solo recital when he was 13. "That was a great accomplishment. Afterward you just feel great for accomplishing your goal."

Concerning parental support, Katie related: "My dad played the piano, and I played the piano, and every concert that I did he would come to it, and I'd be so nervous. If he wasn't there, I don't know if I would have cared how I did. Reassurance is a huge part."

In speaking of setbacks and disappointments, Wendy related: "I ran for junior class president. I didn't win. My mom was a big support. She told me, `Life doesn't end here. There's still other chances. You have next year.' "

Concerning the challenges of chastity and how parents can help, Wendy said: "We all know what's right and wrong. You have to be your kids' best friends. Instill the values when they're young."