Jenna Behrens is a licensed professional counselor who has been practicing in the mental health field for seven years. She owns Behrens Psychotherapy Services, LLC which has four office locations around the Milwaukee area. She works with children, adolescents, families, and adults on a wide array of issues including depression, anxiety, ADHD, childhood behavioral disorders, adjustment disorders, stress and parenting.
So did you all make it through the holidays? A particular Christmas present from my nephew gave me the inspiration for this blog today. He and my sister gave me and my husband a picture of them donating pet food and supplies to a local shelter and explained that they donated these items on behalf of us and our love for animals. Hands down- It was the best gift we received from anyone. It came from the heart, they took time out of their lives, and it didn't cost much.
This got me to thinking about a common idea that I talk with parents about: Charity and giving back. A lot of parents I help talk about their children being greedy and not being appreciative for what they have. I think that teaching children to give back is a great way to teach appreciation and empathy. It also teaches children that they can help make change, they are powerful in their own right. If this sounds like a good idea to you and hopefully it does- here are a few tips:
-Begin at an early age, if possible. It's okay to start anytime, it's never too late
-Teach by example. Don't just expect your childrent to give back, do it yourself.
-Find an interesting and meaningful charity or organization that your child can connect with. If they love animals, donate time or supplies to an animal shelter. If they are curious about war or history- have them send care packages to troops.
-Don't just donate money. Money is very helpful, absolutely, but it's easy and it doesn't allow for children to really connect with the idea of giving back. Pick something that you can help with. Donate time to Toys for Tots and sort toys or donate time at a soup kitchen.
-Talk about why this idea is important. Explain what the cause is, how your time or donation is helping, and how you can give back on a daily basis. Sometimes giving back just means being kind. Smiling at someone or holding the door open or sharing school supplies with someone who doesn't have any. Help your child understand that this is not a punishment, but that giving back is something they should be proud of.
I hope this inspires you to give. Not just this holiday season, but all year round. I'd love to hear about how you give back!