Many parents feel at a loss about how their teenagers are feeling and what they can do about it. Studies show that more teenagers are battling anxiety, and many of those same teenager’s battle depression also. David Murray has written two books to help Christian teenagers and their parents, Why is my Teenager Feeling Like This? and Why am I Feeling Like This?
Both serve as a guide to help teens through anxiety and depression.
The book for teenagers follows the real life of the experience of different people. For example, Tense Tom is one of the characters in the book. Tom is uptight all of the time and can’t seem to relax. His mom is very sick. He was getting headaches and felt physically sore. He sat a lot throughout his day at school and then at home when he had to do homework. Additionally, he was not sleeping well and drank lots of coffee and stayed up late studying. Tom’s pastor noticed how unhappy he was and gave him biblical counsel and encouraged him to see his doctor for the physical problems.
There is the problem. In each chapter, Murray provides a key for each problem. The key will need to be turned in order to see progress in the fight against anxiety. For Tom, the key is exercise. Our emotional and mental health can be affected by our physical health. His doctor outlined five steps to take to get more active.
- Stand up and work.
- Walk outside.
- Lift weights.
- Play sports as a hobby.
- Eat healthily.
God gave us our bodies to use for His glory; therefore, we need to take care of it (1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31), which is also the motivation for wanting to be healthy. We do it for God’s glory, and when He is glorified, we benefit.
Each chapter includes exercises for teenagers to take, with the help of their parents, to put into practice what they learned. There are questions to answer and steps to take along with Scripture to memorize. There is a prayer to use to rely on God for His help in the battle against anxiety.
The book for parents follows the same stories as the teenager’s book but equips the parents with more information to help them and their children. The counsel to Tom’s parents would be to believe what the Bible has to say about our bodies and taking care of them, which is foundational. Then understanding how an active or inactive lifestyle can affect moods and how people think. Tom’s parents could help him by buying a stand-up desk for the home so he could do his homework that way and encourage him to exercise, perhaps they could do that with him. It is important to encourage and not pressure exercise. Parents also can make sure there are healthy food options in the home for encouragement as well.
Like the teenagers’ book, the parent’s book contains the same exercises but provides guidance to go through them together.
Throughout each book, similar examples are given. Murray works to show how things are often connected, and nothing is isolated. Parents and teenagers will find much-needed direction in these books. Throughout them, Murray encourages parents to start these conversations and encourage their children to read these together.