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How to Raise a Socially-Conscious Tween

by R. Carnavale | February 19th, 2015 | Social, Tweens

girl (400x400)Raising your tween to be socially conscious will help your child become more compassionate and helpful to others as your tween becomes more aware of the problems that members of your local community and the global community face on a day-to-day basis. If your tween is a socially-conscious young citizen, your child is far less likely to become self-absorbed or fritter his or her time away on video games. An added bonus: If your tween engages in constructive volunteer activities in the community, she or he will gain self-esteem, social awareness and positive friendships.

In The We Generation: Raising Socially Responsible Kids, author Michael Ungar says that parents need to set the example when it comes to social conscious behavior and activities. It’s easy enough to do, too — you can volunteer for the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts or a religious organization, pass out food at a food pantry or soup kitchen, donate your time to Habitat for Humanity, pick up some litter from the parking lot as you head into the grocery store or put some money in the Salvation Army bucket and say “Hello” to the bell ringer as you exit a department store. You can make volunteering a family activity by asking your tween to join in on these activities.

If you have the resources, instead of taking your tween on a trip to Disneyland or Six Flags, how about vacationing in a developing country like Botswana or Haiti and letting your child see how much of the world lives? If you do, you’ll also help the local tourist economy and, if you decide to travel as part of a relief organization’s efforts, your tween will learn that vacation time can be used to help others who are less fortunate.

Organizations that sponsor volunteer vacations for families include Global Aware, which coordinates, organizes and leads week-long volunteer vacations to places like Ghana, Cambodia, China, India, Laos Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Romania, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Guatemala.

Outreach360 provides English language skills, literacy skills, and community health services to disadvantaged individuals (especially orphans) in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua and they sponsor several volunteer weeks throughout the year.

Encourage your tween to join a community organizations such as Girls for a Change, which invites tweens (more broadly, girls ages 5 to 15) to design, lead, fund and implement social change projects that tackle issues your daughters faces in your own neighborhood or city. Tweens work in teams designing and implementing a social change project that will make a lasting change in their neighborhood.

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