Teaching the Youth to Be Community-Oriented
A lot of parents could not even get their kids to clean up their rooms, so it’s impossible to make teenagers to their computers and take on an “impossible” feat, 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, these steps can help you shape your teens into responsible and community-loving adults one day:
1. Give them autonomy.
How would you probably like it if someone were to always breathe down your neck whenever 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 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 not just “putting yourself in another’s shoes” or being a very good listener. It’s feeling the feelings of others. 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 takes decisive action: how can you make volunteering cool?
3. Be a good example.
While children have never been great at listening to their parents and elders, but they have always unconsciously mimicked them. And the reason behind that is largely biological. Ever heard of mirror neurons and how they affect group behavior? Bottom line is, don’t demand from your teens what you won’t do yourself.
4. Appreciate their contributions.
Feeling like you don’t see them is a sure way to kill their motivation. After all, why contribute you don’t feel like you’ve done a part? That’s why you really have to communicate to them how their work is making a difference. And you need to say it to them individually, not as a group.
5. Give them a meaningful purpose.
Why do these teens have to do all these things? Is it to make their parents happy or proud? Is it to spend time with someone they like? To increase their grades? These are all poor motivation. Try explaining to them how the youth’s service can contribute to the overall good of your community, and what the possibilities are if they don’t show up. This is good motivation because a purpose in life is one of the most crucial factors of psychological as well as physical health. Proof is retiree volunteers living longer lives and being less likely to suffer depression compared to others who’d rather stay at home.
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