Adolescents need to know that their lives are meaningful and have purpose. Research shows that a teen who sees a purpose for his life and who is involved in meaningful activity will be much less likely to participate in high risk behaviors and more likely to consider long-tenn goals during decision making. Manon KI. Meaningful Involvement in Instrumental and Well-Being: Studies of Older Adolescents and At Risk Urban Teenagers. Am J 0f Community Psychology 1990; 18:297
There is nothing like volunteering to instill your teen with a sense of gratitude, generosity, and a reason for living. Search for opportunities, local and internationally, that will allow your teen to safely experience a life devoid of materialism.
Challenge your child (probably middle school and up) to come up with a project to help an individual, organization, church, etc. Put them “in charge” of determining how to help: a local child with cancer, disaster victims, family in need. This teaches responsibility, decision- making, generosity and builds maturity.
Encourage your teen to develop a long term project that will benefit others - such as those experienced by Boy Scouts in pursuit of their Eagle Scout award. Even more exciting - work on the project as a family.