How to Encourage the Youth to Serve in their Communities
Parents usually cannot even make their children clean up their rooms, so it’s impossible to encourage teenagers to abandon their computers and work on an “impossible” challenge, right? Probably not. There are techniques to persuade them to move out of their self zones and grow concern for the world 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 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. 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 feeling the feelings of others. If your kid’s pet dog died, for example, empathizing is not saying, “I know how it feels.” Empathy is grieving together. If your teen is scared of looking “uncool” when volunteering, it shouldn’t be simply accepted as “teens being teens.” Empathy takes decisive action: how can you make volunteering cool?
3. Set a positive example.
Children may have never been great at listening to their parents, they have never failed to copy them. And there’s a biological logic behind that. Ever heard about mirror neurons and their impact on group behavior? Here’s the bottom line: don’t expect your children to do what you yourself couldn’t.
4. Appreciate their efforts.
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 you need to say it to them individually, not as a group.
5. Give 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 get a chance to be close to someone they like? To gain some kind of points for their grades? These are all poor motivation. Try explaining to them how the youth’s service can contribute to the overall good of your community, and what the possibilities are 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.