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? Wrong. There are methods to influence them to stretch out of their self zones and have greater concern for the people 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 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 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 actually feeling what other is feeling. 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 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 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 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? This is why it’s critical that you communicate to them that their work is highly valued. 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? 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. 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 definitely more effective because a purpose in life is one of the most vital factors that promote psychological and also physical health. Proof to that is retiree volunteers being less likely to be depressed and having longer lives than others who prefer to stay home.

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