The Key Elements of Great Churches

How to Help the Youth Become Involved 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? Maybe not. There are approaches to inspire them to go out of their self zones and develop 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 would you probably like it if someone were to always breathe down your neck whenever you move? That’s just how it feels for majority of teenagers. Most adults get quite defensive when this matter is brought up, saying their kids first become responsible before they can be granted 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 actually feeling the emotions of the other. 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 takes decisive action: how can you make volunteering cool?

3. Set 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 logic behind that. Ever heard about mirror neurons and their influence 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 pitch in when you feel like nothing’s changed? 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 do these young people need to do all of these? Is it to make their parents happy? Is it to spend time with someone they like? To get some kind of points from their teacher? All of these are 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 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.