We often complain and criticize teenagers for being selfish. Parents and teachers often complain about the lack of respect or the lack of dedication teenagers have today. In fact when many people think about teenagers they also think about drugs, alcohol and sex. Many people assume this is all that teenagers think about.
However, this is not reality. As a psychotherapist who works with teenagers I hear the amazing things they are doing daily. The problem is that teenagers seldom receive recognition for what they do. You would be surprised that with just a little bit of praise means to a teenager. Just one person acknowledging what they did and you see their entire face light up. It also increases the likelihood that they will continue to do positive things with their lives. Parents and adults who have teenagers in their lives or work with teens need to remember this fact. Also besides correcting their mistakes, which we need to do, we need to acknowledge the positive acts too. If we don’t why would teenagers want to continue with their positive acts. If all you get attention for is negative behavior, after a while you give up. You simply focus on the negative because that is what people expect and the only way you get attention. A teen will feel negative attention is better than no attention.
This high school in Ohio should be an example to us. These teenagers have received positive attention for their acts of kindness and look what they have created. This is not the first school video they have done. Their first video was in 2014. These kids have received positive feedback for their acts of kindness and they are turning around and helping thousands of other people. We need to keep in mind that teenagers are amazing and are capable of tremendous acts of kindness. They just need our support. Besides its nice to tell a teen that they did a great job rather than always giving them a lecture.
I have included a link to this amazing video by this amazing high school. I encourage you to watch it, donate to their cancer cause and think about how you can encourage and acknowledge a teenager in your life for their acts of kindness. Look at what high school students & teachers can do when they decide to help others. We need to support them and encourage other teens https://youtu.be/oYRZFAQql7o.
Acknowledging the good teens do can inspire them and other teenagers to do positive things. I have included another link to a high school which made a positive video about their school and included everyone in the school. There are many videos on YouTube by high schools doing the same thing. https://youtu.be/luGzHmkOOSY
The point is many teenagers are use to only hearing the negative about how teenagers act. However, there are many teenagers who are helping others and doing acts of kindness daily. It is very important that we acknowledge the positive acts too. Because I have had many teens not want to try to change because all they have ever heard is how bad they are and teenagers are. It is amazing how teenagers react to positive feedback. In fact, there are two non-profits I am aware of that prove this point. They are Alive and Free in San Francisco and Challenge Day in Martinez. These two organizations focus on the good in teenagers and you would be amazed how teens flock to these two groups. I have seen it. Teenagers flock to these groups because they are starving for positive feedback. I ask you to please think about the point.
Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience working with teenagers. To learn more about his work and private practice visit his website www.rcs-ca.com or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy