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 approaches to inspire them to go out of their self zones and develop concern for the world around them.
As a parent, the following steps can aid you molding your teens into responsible as well as community-loving adults someday:
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 just how it feels for majority of teenagers. Most adults get quite defensive when this matter is brought up, saying their kids first become responsible before they can be granted 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 studies have discovered that the more you place your trust on someone, the more he will likely behave as you want him to.
2. Show real empathy.
Empathy is so much more than simply putting yourself in the other person’s shoes or being a very comforting listener. It’s actually feeling the emotions of the other. If your kid’s pet dog died, for example, empathizing is not saying, “I know how it feels.” Empathy is grieving with him. If your teen is scared of looking “uncool” when volunteering, it shouldn’t be simply accepted as “teens being teens.” Empathy takes decisive action: how can you make volunteering cool?
3. Set a positive example.
Children may have never been great at listening to their parents, they have never failed to copy them. And there’s a biological explanation for that. Ever heard of mirror neurons and how they affect 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 they’re invisible to you is a perfect way to douse their motivation. After all, why do you have to contribute when you don’t feel like it will change something? This is why it’s vital to express to them that their work is making a significant difference. 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 increase their grades? All of these are poor motivation. Explain to them how the youth’s service can bring great benefit to your community, and what can happen 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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