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Top 10 tips for mentoring a young adult effectively

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It takes a special person like you to support a young person

Mentoring a teen can be so rewarding, and extremely beneficial to the young adult who is looking up to you. Young people strive to win the affection of an adult, and those who do not succeed tend to struggle with their self-esteem. This will lead to communication issues, as they are not able to develop that boundary between themselves and others. When a young adult does not have anyone to look up to, they will lack in many areas of their life. 

Young adults who lack a positive role model often find themselves getting picked on by others. This can lead to depression, as they are not given the opportunity to talk in their time of need. Mentors serve as a guiding light. The advice, encouragement and support provided to a young adult by their mentor will help them succeed in the future. 

When becoming a mentor, one would typically sign up through a community, school or church based program. The child is then matched with an adult who is not related to them. Mentors typically work on a voluntary basis.

Not everyone is cut out to be a mentor. It takes a special person who possesses emotional stability in order to provide the support that is needed to a young person. Typically, programs that see a lot of success will offer their volunteers training. Volunteers will first have to pass an interview process before moving on to training. The program will keep a close watch on both the mentor and the child to ensure success. They will collect feedback from both parties and measure the progress that is being made. 

Follow these top 10 tips for effectively mentoring:

Trusted Relationship

Trust is a very important factor when mentoring. You must gain the trust of your young adult before they can really confined in you. Teens who do not have anyone to look up-to become very weary of adults in general. You’re not there to be their best friend, nor are you to take on the role of their parent. You are to serve as a positive influence and ensure communication between you and your mentee is always open. This will help build a bond between the two of you, and respect will be earned. 

Realistic Goals

It will take time for a young person to feel comfortable enough to confide in you. Allow your relationship to grow by asking questions and answering any questions they may ask you. You’ll find your mentee warming up to you as time goes on and they feel more confident in themselves and their relationship with you. 

Enjoy your time together

Be sure you know what your young adult enjoys doing. This will help you build a bond and ensure your relationship grows in a positive way. There are tons of activities you could engage in, such as grabbing a bite to eat, playing basketball, going fishing, taking a walk or just going to the park for a talk. Money never has to be an issue, as your young adult is looking to build a relationship with you and your time is all they require. 

Let your mentee be a part of planning activities

Allow your mentee to be a part of planning activities. You may notice that they are backwards at first, but in time they will be able to chip in a few ideas. Some children do not want to give the impression that they need or want for anything. It is kind of a shield mechanism for some teens, as they have not yet bonded with an adult. No matter what, also ask your mentee for their input, as this shows them you value their thoughts and feelings. 

Don’t push your mentee, let them talk when they are ready.

For some, it will take time for them to share any type of personal information. Ensure you let your young adult know they are welcome to share whatever they want with you without any type of judgement. 

Listening is never underrated

Listening is the best thing you can do as a mentor. Really listen when your teen talks. This will show them that there is no judgment to be made and you are willing to hear about their life. Some will be very eager to tell stories and their experiences because no one ever truly listens to them. 

Advice and Solutions

Teens often feel alone. Their time with you may be the only time they have to lean on someone. Give them the space to share their emotions and vent. Give them options to consider, and help sway the conversation to a positive outcome. It is very easy to focus on things that cannot be controlled, so it’s your job to take focus off those things and apply attention to things that can be controlled. Thoughts, feelings and decisions are all things that an individual can control. Always keep the focus on the solution. 

Positive in all areas

Be empathetic to the situations your teen is going through, and remember to keep the focus on your mentee when together. This time is never about you, but how you can help your young person succeed. Sharing your personal stories is one thing, but they should be brief and not take up all the time you have together. They will confide in you and it will be important that you make them realize that positive thoughts can change the outcome of any situation. 

You are mentoring a child not their family 

It is important that you realize that you are there only for the one you are mentoring. It is not your duty to act as an intermediary between them and their family. You never want to become involved in family issues and always discuss any concerns you may have with the head of your program.

They are watching you

Lead by example. Remember they are looking up to you and you never want to lose their trust. Be dependable and make sure you keep your commitments. Having a regular time to meet with your mentee is best practice. Make sure you are on time as a lack of commitment can be very hurtful to the one you are mentoring. If you are not able to commit your time, then it is best that you don’t volunteer. Always be sure you can fulfill your commitment of mentoring before signing up.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 tips for mentoring a young adult effectively”

  1. Very good info., however, I’m finding it very difficult to be a mentor to inner city black youths. This is a challenge for me.

  2. I’ve always found that I am naturally thrust into the mentor role, as I’m sought out by those seeking a mentor. It’s always been successful and beneficial and they’ve forever long praised it over the years. I decided out of curiosity to see what it takes to be a good positive role model mentor and realized these are all things I’ve done for them naturally, so this is a good list. I think the trick is they’ve always come to me or initiated, and I would just be there for them as that’s just the kind of person I am in general. Someone there for others. So a mentor should definitely have compassion and some intuition too so you can intuit if somethings wrong with them and how to help when needed. This is without pushing it. They take the reigns with it.

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