Six Reasons to Mentor a Teen
Perhaps you had a mentor who gave you a recommendation or taught you the skills needed to get a promotion at work. Or maybe you had a mentor in school who helped turn a negative experience into a positive one. Those are just a few examples of some of the short-term benefits of mentoring. But in the long run, mentoring teens help them become happier, stable, well-functioning adults who contribute to society. So consider becoming a trusted counsellor and influential supporter of someone else — mentor them — with teachings and guidance.
- 78% of respondents said they were less likely to use drugs or alcohol because of being in a mentoring program
- 81% said they went to school more often
- 93% said they knew where to go for help
- 90% said they had a more positive view of their futures
- 87% said they felt more confident
- 79% had a clearer idea of what they wanted to do in the future, and
- 75% said they knew more about education, training and work options available to them.
Here are six benefits of becoming a mentor.
1. Mentors Change Lives
This statement may sound daunting, but don’t let it intimidate you. You don’t have to be famous or rich or have a fancy title to have plenty to offer a young person. You can expose a teen to new ideas. Teach them about new principles, practices or responsibilities. Or help lend support and resources they may need. There are plenty of skills you can teach to help strengthen their development. For example, you are helping with problem-solving, confidence-building, and even knowing how to respond to tough questions during a job interview. Spending time with teenagers and passing along your guidance lets them know life is ripe with possibility and could lead them towards a successful path.
2. Improve Listening Skills
We often hear from tweens and teens that it’s rare they feel adults listen to them. As a mentor to teens, here is a chance to hone your listening skills further. Allow mentees to tell you what they need and explain what kind of support they want to achieve their goals. Listening also gives them a chance to offer suggestions or try things they’ve been too shy or intimidated to speak up about. You will make the most appropriate suggestions only when you’ve listened to and heard your mentee.
3. Stay Current
A great bonus of interacting with young people is they will help keep you up-to-date in areas where you may be getting a bit stale. There is plenty to learn from teens, whether it’s the newest social media, the most popular gadgets on the market, the latest slang, or pop culture. Let them help keep you young and improve your edge. A bonus — you’ll get insight into what is going on in the teen world. All of this may help you better guide your own children!
4. Polish Leadership Skills
You bring both life experience and leadership into the relationship. When teaching a young person, you’re naturally encouraged to become (and stay) an expert in whatever area you’re helping with. And because they look up to you, you’ll work to ensure you’re giving the best guidance possible. You may find yourself thinking about different approaches to best getting your messages across. You may devise new ways of sharing valuable lessons. As you do so, you continue growing your own leadership skills while helping to shape a leader of tomorrow.
5. Get Invigorated
As adults, our everyday lives can begin to feel ordinary and routine. To a teen, our schedule is anything but. It can restore excitement for what we do when we are reminded how much it matters. Similarly, young people may also offer new perspectives on problems we’ve learned to ignore or see as “just the way things are.” Things that probably should be changed. Things that teens find unacceptable. Having young people around helps us remember that problems are solvable, and we should all strive to be our best selves.
6. Community-Wide Impact
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Pay it forward.” Mentoring does just that. Someone empowered you – now you have a chance to do the same for someone else. Your contributions may spark their desire to give back. Teens with mentors often go on to mentor others and give back to their communities. So by taking care of young people — not just your own — all children stand to benefit, as does our society at large.
Mentoring makes an actual difference. While you don’t become a mentor knowing how far your mentee will go in life, there are essential rewards from mentoring. So, take a chance and reach outside of your home. Offer yourself to teens who will benefit from your time, wisdom, and experience.
If you want to learn more about how to get involved with mentoring, here are some places to start:
We have a number of mentoring opportunites that you can volunteer for. Check them out here.
Be the one who makes a difference.