How to Help the Youth Become Involved in Their Communities
Parents usually cannot even make their children clean up their rooms, so it’s impossible to encourage teenagers to abandon their computers and work on an “impossible” challenge, right? Maybe not. There are methods to influence them to stretch out of their self zones and have greater concern for the people around them.
As a parent, these steps can help you shape your teens into responsible and community-loving adults one day:
1. Give them autonomy.
How do you think would it feel if someone were to breathe down your neck each and every time you move? That’s exactly how it is for most teenagers. Adults can get quite defensive when this point is raised, saying their kids have to act more responsibly before they can be given autonomy. However, it’s the opposite that is actually true: how are young people to act more responsibly if they never get the chance? If anything, psychological research has uncovered that as you trust someone more, he is more likely to act the way you want him to.
2. Show real empathy.
Empathy is not just “putting yourself in another’s shoes” or being a very good listener. It’s actually feeling what other is feeling. For example, if your child’s pet fish died, you empathize not by saying “It’s understand how you feel.” To empathize is to grieve with him. If your teen is hung up on looking “uncool” when volunteering, don’t dismiss it as “teens being teens.” Empathy entails decisive action, like exploring ideas on how to make volunteering cool.
3. Set a positive example.
Kids have never been superb at listening to their parents, but they have always imitated them. And there’s a biological explanation for that. Ever heard about mirror neurons and their influence on group behavior? Here’s the bottom line: don’t expect your teens to do what you personally wouldn’t.
4. Appreciate their efforts.
Feeling like you don’t see them is a sure way to kill their motivation. After all, why pitch in when you feel like nothing’s changed? This is why it’s critical that you communicate to them that their work is highly valued. And you have to say it to each of them, and not merely address a group.
5. Give them a meaningful purpose.
Why should these teens do all of these things? Is it to make their parents happy or proud? Is it to have an excuse to spend time with someone they like? To get some kind of points from their teacher? These are all poor motivation. Tell them how the youth’s service can matter to the general good of your community, and what’s at stake if they don’t show up. This is definitely more effective because a purpose in life is one of the most vital factors that promote psychological and also physical health. Proof is retiree volunteers living longer and less likely to be depressed than their stay-home counterparts.
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