We live in difficult times, especially for teenage and "tweenage" girls. Girls these days are up against so much pressure to conform to what society thinks a young girl should look like and be like. Magazines are filled with the young pop stars who are consistently in the news for their use of drugs, their underage or abusive drinking and for starving themselves to death - literally. The Internet is a source for the same images as is the TV and movies.
Even when parents are careful with the upbringing of their children, they may inadvertently miss some red flags. Most parents are consumed with work, getting ahead to pay the bills and live a good life. And there are parents who care so much for their children and through no fault of their own, the children still get led astray.
We just heard about a young teen aged girl that we knew who is now at a rehabilitation center on the other side of the country. What a lovely, polite girl she was and from a very nice Church-going family. I'll call her Shelly. We have known Shelly for years. She was not the type to get into any trouble AT ALL. But poor Shelly suffered from very low self esteem. Nobody knew. She then became friends with a girl I will call Tracy. The two of them began to hang out together. Shelly began to disassociate with her closer friends which wasn't very obvious to anyone because it happened over time. Everyone gets busy, even kids with homework and activities -- so no one realized what was happening. It turns out that Tracy was involved with drugs and enticed Shelly to try them. Shelly did try them and became involved with drugs and also became anorexic and began losing weight.
Thank God that Shelly's parents did eventually realize what was happening before it was too late. Shelly is now getting excellent help and is very thankful. She has admitted that there was a time throughout all of this that she almost died! Please say a little pray for this girl and for all those in this situation. She could use all of the prayers that you can spare, I'm sure. Parents have to be sure they know who their children are hanging out with and also need to realize that their children truly NEED their supervision at every stage of development. Kids need to be involved in wholesome activities.
And please keep your eyes open for alarming behaviors that may be hidden just beneath the surface of children and teenagers. We can help sometimes with just a listening ear; by giving up a little time to truly listen to someone who may be crying out for attention and help.
We need to pray for our youth who walk out onto a battleground each day, it seems; just being a teenager is so tough. Also, please pray for the girl who led Shelly astray. Her parents from what I hear, are totally oblivious to what's going on and that is a sad shame indeed - for the girl and for all those she will try to lead down the same path because of her own weaknesses and need of healing.
Oh dear, Lord, please help us all. Please look kindly upon Your dear children. Please dear Lord, heal our brokenness. Help us to open our hearts to extend Your love to others in need. Blessed Mother Mary please protect us all from the snares of the devil and lead us all on the path that leads to Heaven! Amen.