Children and teens are influenced by mentors every day. Even adults experience change in their lives as a result of being a mentor to the next generation. Youth mentoring programs are meaningful and so powerful to children, but what makes a great youth mentor? These six qualities are desirable to be a mentor who greatly influences the lives of the children around you:
1. They provide support
Mentors provide support and encouragement to the children and teens in their lives. This is especially important for teenage mentors who are helping teens overcome obstacles. Many teens need help problem solving, particularly if they are unhappy about their life situation, have trouble at home, or struggle with their mental health. Having a supportive mentor helps these teens feel that they are valued and that someone in the world cares about them.
2. They are a good listener
A good mentor knows how to be an active listener. They can listen before they speak. Teens often feel that adults don't listen to them, and may feel they aren't good enough, even when they have a good idea or something important to say. Good mentors always have their ears open and let teens and children express themselves freely. Need help with listening skills? Learn about active listening from reading this article.
3. They know how to push their mentees
It can be challenging to find a good balance for pushing children and teens out of their comfort zones. Teens especially may resist the challenge. A good mentor knows how to set expectations for children and teens both academically and personally, helping their mentees achieve more than what they might've thought possible. In fact, teens from disadvantaged backgrounds are much more likely to attend college when they have a mentor. You can read more about the statistics here.
4. They take an interest in the youth they mentor
Children and teens can tell which adults are truly invested in them and which are just showing up or in it for their own interests. A good mentor takes an authentic interest in the lives of the children and youth they mentor, spends time getting to know them personally, and recognizes their feelings and mood changes.
5. They limit judgement
Good mentors limit judgment and imposing their own beliefs, and instead listen. In a judgment-free zone, children and teens can problem-solve and work through deeper subjects with their mentor.
6. They give perspective
Because adults have years of life experience, they can help give some perspective to children and teens. Often children and teens struggle to see both sides of an argument or may have a healthy dose of scepticism. Youth mentoring programs can help put issues into perspective, and a great mentor can do this with any child.
Need help deciding if mentoring is right for you? Check out this article to find out how you can get involved in teenage mentoring programs, contact us at DREAM today.
At DREAM we offer, youth mentoring programs that all children can benefit from! It’s common for youth to you participate in group activities and a team mentor is when one or more adults meet with the group on a regular basis. This presents plenty of benefits for at-risk youth. If you would like to get involved contact us today!