You can help your teen be a responsible citizen.

What Makes Teenagers Good Citizens?

by Dosser Handron, Ph.D.

You can judge whether you are molding your teenage children into good citizens by looking at how they treat their neighbors. Your teenager's obedience for the law and care for the environment and the community can also help you know if she is on the right path to becoming a responsible member of society. Knowledge of what transforms teenagers into decent citizens can help you, as a mother, be effective in guiding your teen children toward values that inspire the spirit of good citizenry.

Interest in Social Problems

Encourage your children to build an interest in resolving social problems, such as hunger and poverty. Marilyn Price-Mitchell, a development psychologist and researcher at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif., notes that this sharpens their creativity and helps them establish the link between what they learn in school and real-life experiences. As a result, they are able to carry out constructive debate and help improve social systems that may be unjust or inefficient.

Engagement in Responsible Actions

Teach your teen daughter or son responsible use of cell phones and the Internet. Posting photos that may cause embarrassment or forwarding their friends’ private messages without permission can, for instance, damage their reputation and violate other people’s privacy rights. Irresponsible use of the Internet can also affect teenagers' moral values by exposing them to explicit content such as pornography.

Involvement in Group Activities

Help your children to understand and exhibit virtues such as empathy, kindness and respect by encouraging them to participate in social group activities. Church groups such as choirs and scouting activities are examples of social gatherings that can instill compassion in teenagers and enable them to develop beneficial skills. Such activities keep teenagers occupied and assist them to resist peer pressure that may push them toward alcohol, drugs and sex.

Participation in Community Development

Encouraging teens to participate in activities such as constructing a community-based health facility helps them to learn the importance of teamwork. Problem solving, time management, organization and planning are also skills your teenage children can adopt by taking part in community development activities. Community projects that require government involvement may boost their understanding of public institutions, their significance and how they operate.

About the Author

Dosser Handron is a practicing psychologist and writer.She served as a columnist for the "Tides" and now contributes to various websites. Dosser holds a PhD in psychology from University of South Carolina.

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