Compassionate care for others is not something that usually comes naturally. Instead, it is a character quality that must be nurtured for years before it becomes a permanent part of one’s life. Teaching teens about how to reach out and care for those who are less fortunate than themselves is a great way to help them grow into empathetic adults. Here are some ways that parents and guardians can teach teens about this.
Reach out as a Family
Teens must see compassionate care modeled by others to be impacted by this characteristic. Families could find places to volunteer together, such as at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, or could reach out together at certain times during the year, such as by preparing Christmas gifts for those less fortunate than themselves.
Let Them Find Someone to Help
The people that you may want to help may not be the same people that your teenager feels called to help. We all have different desires and goals based on our personalities, backgrounds, likes and dislikes, and your teen is no different. Ask him or her for guidance about who they might like to help. Then, help them think of ways to reach out to that person. If they wish to speak to a professional help them find a local therapist.
Find a Way to Use Their Talents
Every teen has at least one talent that is special to them and that they can use to help others. Whether it is listening, cooking, reading or singing, there is always something that they love to do that will help them become invested in reaching out. For example, singing opportunities for teenagers often abound in many areas of your town.
Determine the “Why”
Teens must have a reason for what they do to make the action stick. As a family, discuss why you help others. It could be for religious reasons, to honor a loved one who has passed on or something else.
Teaching teens about compassion is something that will take years. In fact, it is best to start when they are only children by modeling empathy and by discussing things that you see in the world around you. As your children grow into teenagers, they will feel empowered to do these same things and may even take on more responsibility. Be sure to allow teens to reach out in a way that feels comfortable and appropriate for them and their personalities.