How to Encourage the Youth to Serve in their Communities
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? Probably 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 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. 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 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 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 afraid of looking “uncool” when they volunteer, don’t simply accept 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 logic behind 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 contributions.
Feeling invisible to you is an excellent way to quash their motivation. After all, why do you have to contribute when you don’t feel like it will change something? That’s why you really have to communicate to them how their work is making a difference. And it’s important to actually tell them individually rather than as a group.
5. Offer them a meaningful purpose.
Why do these young people need to do all of these? Is it to impress their parents? 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. 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 more effective because a purpose in life is one of the most key factors that lead to psychological and even 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.
Citation: More Help