Teen Talk

The Rev. Matt Anderson, left, the Rev. Randy Upgren and Ernie Hockett prepare for the upcoming Teen Talk at Shiloh Christian School in Bismarck from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28. 

Three local churches are teaming up to lead a talk for kids and parents about pressures facing teens.

"This is a huge issue," said the Rev. Randy Upgren with Charity Lutheran Church. "Kids are feeling an immense amount of pressure from school sports, social issues and just trying to fit in."

He, along with the Rev. Ernie Hockett of Citylife Ministries and the Rev. Matt Anderson of Surprise Church, will host a teen talk called "The Pressure Zone" at Shiloh Christian School from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 28.

Upgren said kids often feel pressure from peers to conform and from parents, teachers and coaches to perform.

The talk will cover these issues from a Christian worldview to which anyone can relate, he said.

For example, he said some kids feel pressure from parents who want them to play sports, but they would rather spend their time involved with other activities.

"Is it about what you want for those kids, or what God created for those kids?" Upgren said.

He and the other pastors will guide families through the discussion using games and interactive media to create a comfortable environment.

Upgren and Hockett held their first teen talk nine years ago on the topic of sex. They realized that many parents failed to have the sex talk with their kids and wanted to help facilitate the conversation.

They have since held talks on other topics, including substance abuse and social media.

Hockett said some parents feel disqualified from broaching touchy subjects with kids because they, too, face similar difficulties.

"We say because you struggle with it, you not only have the right, you have the responsibility," he said.

Anderson said the Feb. 28 talk aims to establish a closer bond between parents and kids that encourages teens to talk to their parents about problems.

Without those conversations, he said kids tend to rely on their friends for information, as well as platforms such as YouTube, TV and Netflix.

"We can't let our culture educate our kids in the most important things," he said.

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(Reach Amy R. Sisk at 701-250-8267 or amy.sisk@bismarcktribune.com.)