“You needed me.”
That statement is the cry of adolescence. They don’t mind helping or working but they’re still growing psychologically so they crave knowing that whatever they just did with you or for you was helpful.
So if they helped you with a task, especially when you know you couldn’t do it alone, just tell them thank you. And if you really want to make a lasting impression on their psychological growth, tell them why; explain to them what skills you saw in them. If you don’t, trust me, they will find their significance somewhere else. It could be in a gang or just in displaying certain culturally fringe behaviors like doing drugs and having unprotected sex (although now-a-days it’s not so fringe).
The simple act of mentioning what skills they have when they are helpful to you at least echoes as an option in their mind when someone asks them what they want to do with their life.
BUT here’s the psychological development transition that you should know!
If a young person remains stuck in the mode of seeking significance from others recognizing their worth, they begin to believe that their identity is in others’ perception of who they are. So their goal is always to get others to say about them what they want to hear about themselves because that’s how they believe they exist. They end up working really hard, exaggerate their abilities and often pretend through actions so that at the end of it all people say, “There you are!”
The transition into the adult version of this adolescent trait is moving from “You needed me…right?” to “How can I help you?”
“How can I help you” says that “I have a set of known skills that I’ve honed, are any of them useful to you at this moment?” And if the answer is no, the adult moves on.
Make sure we are shifting our youth into the appropriate psychological perspectives. #PushForward
P.S. Please don’t be the adult that craves other people needing your affirmation…hurry cover up, your adolescence is showing. (but that’s another post)