Q&A: How Do I Encourage My Teen to Volunteer?
Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on helping your child find a community service organization that will inspire her to give time.
Q. In order to graduate, my 15-year-old has to do some volunteering. He thinks of it as a chore; how do I get him excited about it?
A. Some kids are born wanting to help others. Some aren't. But all kids need to give back. Have him contact a local community foundation for a nonprofit he's at least a little bit interested in. He can get a state-by-state list of opportunities at the Council on Foundations website, cof.org. Ideally—and here I'm having flashbacks to my own teen years at a certain nursing home—even if he finds it annoying at first, he'll soon value the new relationships and feel the rewards of helping others. If he doesn't, he'll still learn that as a member of society, he has to get off his butt.
Originally published in the April 2008 issue of Family Circle magazine.