Tips for Raising a Generous Teenager


The teenage years are more often associated with angst than empathy. Today it can be especially difficult to get teens to look up from their cell phones and college applications long enough to contemplate those less fortunate. The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay shares eight tips to help you cultivate a more generous teen:

  • Develop a family narrative: share stories about how the generosity of others has come to shape you and your family
  • Be generous together: doing charitable acts as a family is fun and sets a positive example for your teen
  • Model good charitable habits: share your family's philanthropic goals and values. What is your giving strategy? Which organizations do you support and why?
  • Encourage your teen to spend, save, and give: providing your teen with valuable money management skills now will pay off down the line, teaching them to work within a budget and be generous with their own money
  • Make it their own: understand which causes are important to your teen and help them brainstorm ways they can contribute
  • Ask your teen to use all their T's: treasure (money), time, talent, and ties. Teens have time and talent to volunteer and often a deep social media network to encourage others to do the same.
  • Talk about social inequality: help your teen understand wealth inequalities and the privileges that put your family in a position to give back
  • Create a giving circle: giving circles pool resources from multiple people who then together decide how to distribute the funds. If your teen doesn't feel like they have enough money to give on their own, encourage them to start a giving circle with friends.