How to Help the Youth Become Involved in Their Communities
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 just how it feels for majority of 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. Truth is, it’s the opposite that is actually true: how can they act more responsibly if they are not given 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 so much more than simply putting yourself in the other person’s shoes or being a very comforting 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.” 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 requires decisive action, such as taking steps to 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 there’s a biological explanation for that. Ever heard about mirror neurons and their impact on 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. Offer 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 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 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.