Teaching the Youth to Be Community-Oriented
Majority of parents can’t even convince their kids to tidy up their bedrooms, so it’s impossible to encourage teenagers to dump their computers and work on an “impossible” endeavor, right? Wrong. There are methods to influence them to stretch out of their self zones and have greater concern for the people around them.
If you’re a parent, these steps can help you mold your teens into responsible and community-loving adults in the future:
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 usually get rather defensive when this point is mentioned, saying their kids must first act more responsibly before they will be given autonomy. Fact is, the opposite is true: how can a young person act more responsibly if he is never given 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 actually feeling what other is feeling. If your kid’s pet dog died, for example, empathizing is not saying, “I know how it feels.” To empathize is to grieve with him. If your teen is scared of looking “uncool” when volunteering, it shouldn’t be simply accepted as “teens being teens.” Empathy requires decisive action, such as taking steps to make volunteering cool.
3. Be a good example.
Children may have never been great at listening to their parents, they have never failed to copy them. And the reason behind that is largely biological. 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 contributions.
Feeling like they’re invisible to you is a perfect way to douse their motivation. After all, why pitch in when you feel like nothing’s changed? This is why it’s vital to express to them that their work is making a significant difference. And you need to say it to them individually, not as a group.
5. Give them a meaningful purpose.
Why do these young people need to do all of these? Is it to make their parents happy? Is it to have an excuse to spend time with someone they like? To gain some kind of points for their grades? Each of those is 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 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 and less likely to be depressed than their stay-home counterparts.
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