Published in Ser padres by Emma Sanchez on February 12, 2014

Translated and adapted by Anders Peterson from the original article "La epidemia de "los ninis" amenaza a todos los hogares. Pon el tuyo en cuarentena", by Emma Sanchez

The virus

The concept known as "NEET" (not in employment, education or training describes youth between the ages of 14 and 29 who, out of frustration, have decided not to study or work. Some parents may be OK with the "NEET" effect; however it causes a series of difficulties that are affecting modern families as well as the economic aspects of different countries.

The origins of the epidemic

During the last 30 years there have been worldwide consequences that have been results of economic crises, unemployment, and the government's lack of ability to respond to the population's needs. The social phenomenon known as "NEET" takes place mainly in middle and upper classes because these youth have food, a roof over their heads, clothing and fun activities. Since their parents support their lifestyle these youth's efforts lack purpose. Although it is very common in middle and upper classes, the truth is that the "NEET" effect threatens every household.

What causes this phenomenon? Although there are many factors, there are three consistent reasons: the youth's frustration, the parent's lack of expectations, and the parent's unspoken approval.

The symptoms

The following are symptoms that youth demonstrate when they are likely to turn into a member of the "NEET" population:

  • Youth who do not have a vocational inclination and do not know which career to pursue.

  • Youth who have been suspended from educational institutions or drop out of school.

  • Youth who abandon their career for no apparent reason.

  • Youth whose parents have a professional career believe their future is secure, therefore, they think that there is no need to study and work.

  • University graduate students who don't find employment opportunities right away and give up on pursuing jobs or furthering their education.

  • Women whose education and goals have been delayed because they are "waiting to get married."

The vaccine

It's free, it's called MOTEX (Motivation and Expectation.) It is administered in large doses from birth to adulthood. You can begin administering this vaccine with the following instructions.

Do not reward your children with expensive gifts just for studying, which is not only a privilege but also a responsibility.

If you promise a tablet to your children for doing homework, how are you going to bribe them to finish high school? They are not doing you a favor by going to school. Their rewards should be: self-fulfillment, your words of encouragement, letters written by you that come from the heart, your dedication to helping them do homework. Nowadays we find more parents who give their children sophisticated electronic devices, which are complex and certainly not appreciated by kids. In summary, rewards should never be expensive gifts.

Talk to them about getting a career, finding a job, how to bless the lives of others with effort and hard work

Starting from the early years, it would be a great idea to talk to your children about life, dreams and goals. You may want to talk with them about getting a career, finding a job and blessing others with hard work. Talk to them about their grandparents or your own struggles so that they can feel inspired and motivated. Help them reach their short-term goals and teach them to identify how they feel when they obtain things by their own efforts.

Our youth should seek to work and earn "money" on their own and for their personal benefit. We should teach them to never give up on their duties, to fulfill their commitments and to avoid running away from problems.

Motivate them to work, to be good employees, and to be punctual. Many young people may not even know how to fill out a job application, what they should wear for a job interview, how to dress properly for a job, or how to be punctual and responsible. These are some of the reasons why they may not be employed, and these are skills that must be learned in the home.

If we, as parents, don't set high standards for our children, they will not be able to discover their wonderful potential.

When my daughters started high school, my husband and I announced the new rules for the next stage in our lives. For example, we let them know that as soon as they finished high school they would have to find a job and enroll in a university or community college. We also let them know that we would not pay for university studies and that if they did not make any effort to fulfill their obligations, they would not be able to live in our home. In addition, we let them know that as soon as they started working, they would have to share the household expenses. Would you consider these new rules as extreme actions? It was not the case in our family. They were able to overcome their challenges and fulfill their dreams. There is no greater satisfaction for parents than knowing their children are good, useful, hardworking people.

You, more than anyone, know how to motivate rather than bribe your children. You also know what to expect from them and how to set high standards. If you allow your children to have all the comforts they desire, you may have to deal with a child that does not desire to work, (even in adulthood), who might even fall in other dangerous paths such as criminal behavior. You can avoid unnecessary suffering with the following motto: "Prevention is better than cure."

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