Subject: 15 yr old son does not want to do volunteer work
Question: Dear Kay,
My 15 year old son is a good student and is involved in various sports or extra curriculum’s. So he is very busy during the school year. Now that the Summer is here, I tried to talk to him so that he can start to do some volunteer work. I believe that not only a student needs the volunteer hours for the top university admissions, I’d like him to be surrounded by different kinds of people, learn from them about their needs, grow sympathy and love, development his commitment to the society, etc.
However, he is very resistant to the idea, probably because one it came from parent not from himself and he wanted to be independent from us, two, he seems to becoming more and more rebellion when it comes to parental opinions and assistance, three, he’d rather use the time to get a job to make money. I’d hate to see him growing to a selfish person if this is an early signs of it. How can I talk him into a volunteer work? I thought about doing the volunteer work with him, but am afraid that not even my involvement will do it.
Can you give me some advises?
I don’t think you are going to like my answer and still my job is to be honest with you and give you answers which will work!
First of all you say, “My 15 year old son is a good student and is involved in various sports or extra curriculum’s. So he is very busy during the school year.”
And then, “he’d rather use the time to get a job to make money.”
And you are worried about him becoming selfish? because he doesn’t want to do volunteer work?
Now don’t get me wrong it doing volunteer work is a great idea however, if you have not modeled this behavior or done it alongside of him in the past then most likely he is not going to take your advice.
Next, I answer questions from alot of parents and over the years have worked with families whose hearts were broken from their child’s bad behaviors. I have actually worked with children who were incarcerated and have killed other people. So I need you to understand when I read a question like this one I really have to wonder what is going on here.
I don’t think your son is in danger of becoming selfish just because he has ideas of his own or because he does not agree with you. Feel fortunate that he is wanting to go and get a job.
As a matter of fact practicing lots of gratitude for all that you have accomplished as a parent to have raised a child who is a “good student and involved in various sports or extra curriculum’s.”
Then feel grateful that he wants to get a job! It is a good sign, many time parents often cannot get a child to get a job!
Here is the catch. Once he gets a job, he will probably HATE it. Do you remember what all those minimum wage jobs were like with awful bosses and demeaning work?
Finally, I think if you want him to volunteer it has to be a family activity or he won’t respect your for asking him to do what you wouldn’t do yourself. However, do let him be involved in picking out the site to volunteer. If you do something he is interested in rather than something you think will look good on his college application you will probably find him to be more involved.
The good news is YOU HAVE DONE A GREAT job as a parent. The even better news is maybe you need to relax a little and enjoy him while you still have him as the next few years will go by very fast and he will be off to college! Try doing some fun things together while you still can do so!
M Kay Keller