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Adolescence That fiery time prior to your child becoming a teenager. Their bodies are filled with hormones and turmoil. How are you coping?

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Old 07-20-2007, 04:51 AM
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Tweens & Charity Work

I have a 13 yo daughter and a 15 yo son. We've recently moved cross country (away from their friends as they keep reminding me) back to where we (hubby and I) consider "home". The two older kids (above) spent the last three years in Vegas and consider that their "home".

They developed difficult attitudes and admittedly, we spoiled them a little, and now I want them to come back down to Earth. I don't expect an overnight change, but I believe that doing a little charity work would be good for their character.

We have a food pantry hear in town, which I might add helped US in our time of need many years ago. I would like to give back and volunteer to help them but I want the kids involved as well.

HOWEVER, I don't want the kids looking at it as something that they are doing because they are being punished. I really want them to see the worth in helping others and need some helpful advice in getting that point across to them. The problem is that the issue came up while we were punishing them for something and I am afraid I have connected the two.

Any advice is welcome
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:37 AM
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Amanda, our family has been through some hard times also when our DDs were small. They don't remember those times and if they did, they probably wouldn't have realized how difficult they were. One of the things that our family does is volunteer at a soup kitchen about 3 or 4 times a year. You'd be surprised what an impact this had on our daughters. When they were able to see the people who needed some help it was a real eye opener for them. There are families with children coming through, and I think this really showed our DDs how lucky they are.

Maybe you could start out by doing things that don't seem like "punishment". For instance, at back to school time a local radio station her sponsors a "Stuff the Bus" campaign where they park school buses at different locations and ask for donations of back-to-school supplies. Maybe you could have your kids pick out stuff to donate. Teenagers love to shop! At Christmas, many organizations have wish lists. My daughters love to pick a child and buy them a Christmas present. After a while, your kids will enjoy helping others and then helping at the food pantry won't seem like punishment - they may actually like it!

Kathy
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:52 AM
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I like Kathy's idea of the "fun" activities involved in helping others. This will ease them into it. Then they can get down to business later. They are still in the middle of a big transition.

You might encourage them to get involved in good work through their school and/or church. I mean, if you and your DH want to help the food pantry that is all fine, but maybe your kids are more interested in raising money to help a child in their school who has cancer, or something like that.

Both of my Big Kids' schools have opportunities for the kids to help with charity work. These range from nursing-home visitations, "baby showers" for crisis pregnancy centers, to fund-raising for various charities. One group in DS's school even participates in a Polar Bear Plunge to help raise money for a charity

As for the food pantry, maybe start small. Give each child $10 in cash, access to your coupons and a sale ad, and turn them loose in the supermarket. How much nutritious, nonperishable food can they get for their $10? Donate it all. Spark their interest. THEN have them help sort the items at the food pantry, etc.
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Old 07-20-2007, 09:23 AM
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I think that at first, your children will feel that they are being punished at first. But, once they get to know the people that are being helped and see the differences they are making, it will be a growing and learning experience. They may gripe now, but they will thank you later. My children have thanked me for things later, once they were adults. I don't envy you for having teens.

On other thing. Teens like to be independant. What if you found 3 charities that you have researched to deem good working environments and then give your children a choice on which 1 they want to volunteer. They might give more of themselves if they feel it was their choice. Just a thought.
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Old 07-20-2007, 10:36 AM
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Hi Amanda,

We had a very similar situation in our family.. Once needing the suppport and charity of the food pantry in our communtiy, my kids do remember when times were tough and we were "different" from our community. They recognize that paying it forward is a responsibility.

Donation, volunteerism and a hand in healing the world are keystones of Jewish tradition. When I asked my girls to get involved in charity work, we sat down and discussed what they felt were the greatest needs in our community, It opened up an amazing conversation about what was important to them, rather than what I thought they should be doing...

My 16 y/o DD began volunteering with an organization that works to change public opinion towards young people with disabilities.

My 12 y/o DD volunteers at the local animal shelter, and as a reading guest at a day care center.

I contribute financially to the food pantry, and to other charitable organizations that are dear to tme, as my physical health limit my abilty to make a commitment of time.

In a nutshell, if you let them choose the charity work .. they will see it as an oportunity to do good works, rather than a punnishment being forced on them. The lesson of giving with a willling heart is a far more valuable gift.
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Old 07-20-2007, 05:44 PM
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I know here in our county, I think its statewide too, that before you graduate high school you have to have at least 100 volunteer hours. If the pantry helped you out years ago then hopefully they will remember that and be willing to help someone else that is in the same situation that you previously were in. Not sure what else to tell you. My son is really into helping others and he's only 10 now. When the boy scouts collect for the hungry he is more than generous with the food that we have here. Granted I struggle every month to pay the bills, but he is always more than willing to help someone who needs food or something.
Tammy
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Old 07-21-2007, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ofan1967
I know here in our county, I think its statewide too, that before you graduate high school you have to have at least 100 volunteer hours.
Wow, I've never heard of that, but how admirable! It should be like that everywhere!
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Old 07-21-2007, 04:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lifestar
When I asked my girls to get involved in charity work, we sat down and discussed what they felt were the greatest needs in our community, It opened up an amazing conversation about what was important to them, rather than what I thought they should be doing...
This is a great idea too. I think I will definitely try this Thank you!
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Old 07-21-2007, 06:16 AM
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It is also required in our school district that each student take a Citizenship Issues class that involves volunteer hours before they graduate. The student gets to pick what they volunteer for.

Kathy
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:58 PM
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Why not let them pick a charity of there own to help out there are so many good ones.
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