It’s no secret the teenage and young adult years can be challenging. The stressors of school, family, social life, and the expectation of a more independent future can sometimes feel overwhelming. Many young people have difficulty finding the balance and direction needed to ensure their own emotional well-being.
Often, a remedy to help teens combat life’s uncertainty is a supportive relationship with an adult outside the family, a mentor. This is particularly true for at-risk teens or youth who don’t have a solid relationship with parents or family. Even teens who do have a positive support system at home will sometimes dismiss praise or criticism from a parent, assuming it to be bias or out of obligation.
January is National Mentoring Month - we will be posting and sharing about the benefits of mentoring and the ways you can impact a child’s life.
There are several key components at play in a mentor/mentee relationship:
1) Decision making – A mentor can guide a youth in the decision-making process by offering new insight or options as a result of having more life experience.
2) Establishing a positive and trusted relationship – Many youth prefer not to open up to people for fear of personal information being shared or suffering some sort of consequences. Mentors can often gain the trust of a youth and help them develop confidence in sharing and improve their overall communication skills.
3) Understanding and building on strengths – A mentor can help a youth recognize their positive attributes and help them not only embrace, but build upon them.
4) Development of social and life skills – With more life experience, a mentor can often guide a youth through day to day living and interactions, building confidence and hope for the future, instead of fear and uncertainty.
Mentoring is trust, support, and guidance at a time of life that is often the most tumultuous. Mentoring is an important life service that can guide a struggling youth to a better future. Studies indicate many long-term benefits of being mentored:
• Healthier lifestyle choices
• Academic improvements
• An increase in self confidence
• Improved behavior
• Better relationships with others
In addition to better outcomes for the person being mentored, the relation can be incredibly satisfying for the mentor as well. As they share their own experience, over time they get to hopefully see their efforts make a positive difference in someone’s life. We all need people in our lives we can turn to and trust.
Mentoring can be done through an organization, like Big Brothers Big Sisters or more casually in your community at churches, schools, or by volunteering. At Casa Pacifica our foster families and volunteers help support our youth with positive experiences which often lead to lifelong relationships.
For more information on volunteering or fostering through Casa Pacifica go to www.casapacifica.org
For more information on National Mentoring Month, go to https://www.mentoring.org/our-work/campaigns/national-mentoring-month/