While parents are great role models for their teens, young adults also need to be connected with someone in the community who can inspire them and gently push them outside their comfort zone.
Beyond helping them grow, mentors are important for teens for many reasons. A recent study found that teens who have a mentor are significantly more confident in their academic abilities and considerably less likely to display behavioral problems than teenagers without one. Girls in the study were four times less likely to bully, fight or lie than those without a mentor, while boys are three times less likely to suffer peer pressure related anxiety.
If you’re not sure where to begin searching for a mentor, here are a few places to start.
Reach Out to Your Friends and Family for Contacts
When it comes to helping your teen search for a mentor, turn to your friends and family to see if they know anyone that may be suitable. Perhaps they know someone who’s working in an industry your teen is interested in or who has experience mentoring teenagers. Asking your teen’s friends and family to help you find someone is beneficial as they’ll be able to vouch for your teen’s personality and reliability.
Search Out a Mentor Program or Big Brothers/Big Sisters Chapter
There are several national organizations that exist to help teens find mentors. Programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the National Mentoring Partnership will be able to pair your teen with an older mentor that will act as a role model. Mentorship programs can be helpful for you and your teen as they have staff that will find a mentor that will suit your teen’s specific needs and interests.
Contact Your Teen’s School Guidance Counsellor
The guidance counsellor at your teen’s high school may have some suggestions on who would be a good mentor for your teen. Guidance counsellors often have lots of connections with university students, community workers and other groups of qualified people that would be interested in mentoring your teen.
Reach Out to People Your Teen Already Knows
Does your teen participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, drama or arts programs? If so, you and your teen may want to approach a coach or leader that your teen already knows and trusts, especially if your teen is introverted or shy.
Contact Community Leaders That Share Interests With Your Teen
If your teen is hoping to study or work in a particular field such as architecture, business, art or a trade, you may want to reach out to someone in the community who is already a leader in that field. After all, why not give them a head start on their career aspirations!
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