Our children’s middle school years are among the most stressful for them and for us moms. Could this be in part because kids at that age resist getting involved in life around the house more than ever? If you’re dealing with a sullen, unhelpful pre-teen or teen, you’re not alone. According to a study done by the University of Rochester, kids between the ages of 10 and 16 are the least likely to want to care for other people. But you can help steer your kids in a more positive direction with this insight about parenting middle schoolers.
In the study, over 3,500 American teenagers were given five questions on the subject of social responsibility. All the questions began, “It’s very important to me…” Each had to do with an aspect of helping others: in school, in society, in the home, or at the national level. Children were asked to answer on a 5-point scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”
Social responsibility means having values that “support caring for the welfare of others.” According to the results, the sense of social responsibility was found to be lower in adolescents.
Support is important
As parents, we shouldn’t give up hope, though. Researchers noticed that kids who had more support from parents, friends and teachers felt more socially responsible. According to researcher Laura Wray-Lake, supportive relationships help kids be more caring towards others.
How you can help your kids
Fostering a supportive, loving environment for your kids at home is the first step in encouraging your kids to be less self-centered. Make sure your children are also getting positive reinforcement from their teachers, coaches, mentors and friends. Promote positive values in your kids and encourage them to come to you if they face issues or problems. Your own supportiveness will teach your kids by example to be more supportive of the community around them!