How to Encourage the Youth to Serve 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? Probably not. There are techniques to persuade them to move out of their self zones and grow concern for the world 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 inquiries have revealed that when you place more trust in someone, he is more likely to do as you would like him to.
2. Show real empathy.
Empathy is beyond being a good listener or putting yourself in the other’s shoes.” It’s feeling the feelings of others. If your child just lost his cat, you don’t empathize by saying, “I understand.” Empathy is grieving with him. If your teen is afraid of looking “uncool” when they volunteer, don’t simply accept it as “teens being teens.” Empathy takes decisive action: how can you make volunteering cool?
3. Set a good example.
Kids have never been superb at listening to their parents, but they have always imitated 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 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 vital to express to them that their work is making a significant difference. And it’s important to actually tell them individually rather than as 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 increase 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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