What Your Tween Should Know About Citizenship

How your tween can be a better citizen

Who doesn't want their child to be a good citizen? Now that your tween is older he can learn about how his government works and how he can play an important role as a citizen. Many schools have phased out instruction on citizenship responsibilities and the ways in which our government operates. If you think your child needs a briefing on what it means to be a citizen and how he can play a role in his community, the tips below will help you develop a plan and chart your tween's progress.


Citizenship and Your Tween

Learn About the Flag: Your tween might know a little about how the American flag became one of our country's symbols, but does he know what the stars and stripes represent? What about the colors of the flag? Instruct your child on the meaning behind the flag, as well as how to properly care for a flag. When can a flag be flown? When must it come down? How do we properly dispose of old and tattered flags? 

Help Out: Being a citizen means helping out in your community from time to time. Have your child make a list of ways he can contribute in your town or city -- you might participate in a trash pick up, help out at a local food bank, or spend time volunteering at a local animal shelter. Find a cause your tween is interested in and then see how his work can make a difference. 

Know Your Representatives: Your local government might allow you to take a tour of your government buildings to learn a little about how your local police and community government operate.

When does your local city or county board of supervisors meet and could you sit in on a meeting to hear the discussions of the day? How does your locality elect school board members? Can your tween serve on a student board to see if he can contribute? 

Consider Class Office: Running for student government is the best way for your child to learn about how government works.

If your tween is interested in a leadership role at his school encourage him to run for office. Even if he doesn't win he'll learn a lot about how campaigns and democracies work.

"What Would I Do?" Have your child imagine himself in a leadership role and think about things he would like to do in that role. What would your child do if he were he mayor of your town? What would he do if he was a Senator or a Congressman? What would he do if he were President of the United States? Imagination can help your child learn about responsibilities and challenges. 

Talk to Others: One way your tween can learn about citizenship is to interview others and ask them what they think citizenship means. Have your tween interview a grandparent or a neighbor, or even talk to someone who was a citizen of another country. 

Documents of Citizenship: Your child may want to think about why it's important for people to have driver licenses, passports, and Social Security cards. Explain what your tween would bring with him while traveling overseas to prove that he's a citizen of his country.

What would he do if he got into trouble while traveling overseas? Why does a driver's license mean and why are these documents important to keep up to date and organized?



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