Adolescence is a crucial time for your teen to find a mentor. Teens are busy searching for their identity and developing self-esteem. Mentors offer them a special blend of adult support and independence from their parents. Mentors also help teens explore new life paths, feel more confident, and build a runway for their future.
When I was a high school cheerleading coach, the girls wanted my advice on everything. I was still in my 20’s, so I remembered high school struggles vividly. It was uplifting to support their lives, answer questions, and help them reach their goals.
Fast forward ten years, and I still have a mentor relationship with one of the cheerleaders, Kaitlin. It has blossomed into a friendship and professional partnership. When she started a blog, I loaned her my nice camera. When she moved from Ohio to Portland, I visited. Today, I love having her in my life as my social media coordinator.
“Relationship-building has been one of the most beneficial things in my life,” Kaitlin says. “And, my relationship with Natalie has been super special.”
Top 4 Mentorship Benefits
Mentorship helps teens grow in the top four areas they need for high school success:
- Confidence: “Having someone who truly wants to help you succeed is such a great feeling,” said Kaitlyn. “Knowing I had a support system definitely helped me build confidence and self-esteem.”
- Planning for the future: “Talking with a mentor always gave me new ideas, thoughts, and positive opinions about my life,” said Kaitlin.
- Stress reduction: “My teen years were hard and filled with a lot of emotions,” she said. “Having a mentor kept me from getting swept up in the ‘drama.’ It gave me a voice of reason when things felt overwhelming.”
- Life Tools: “I would seek out mentors when I was looking for advice about a certain topic (college, jobs, sports) or if I needed to discuss a tough situation that I wasn’t comfortable going to my parents for help with. All of these conversations led to better choices.”
How to Help Your Teen Find Mentors
First, identify your teen’s goals. They could be for school, friendships, their interests, or career. And, if your teen needs help figuring out life, make that the goal.
Next, look at who’s in your life already. Is there a coach you trust? Someone who’s already achieved your teen’s goal? Mentoring relationships usually happen through your existing social networks. Make a list of people who are possibilities.
“I recommend connecting with the people you naturally gravitate to. And, staying in touch,” Kaitlin recommends. “These people will help guide you through the years, and the relationship will evolve as your life changes.“
Note: A life coach or academic life coach can help your teen develop the skills to communicate professionally, set up video interviews, and develop interview questions.
In addition, some schools offer a mentoring program that pairs students with mentors in the community. There are also nonprofits that provide mentorship opportunities to youth. You can ask your guidance office about these programs.
Finally, build a positive relationship that offers mutual value. Be open, respectful, and honest. Ask questions. Learn how your mentor thinks and what he/she/they values. Exchange perspectives respectfully. Allow your relationship to evolve, as Kaitlin and I did. And, if it doesn’t work, that’s okay! You can both redefine or end your formal mentoring relationship.
Being a mentor makes my heart so happy. It’s a very fulfilling relationship that builds my confidence. It’s truly my passion to positively impact someone’s life. I hope that you find a mentor who feels the same!
And, if you need a neutral third-party to help with the mentor search, or academic life coaching for your teen, please reach out for a free, no-pressure strategy call to figure out your best next steps.
Life Success for Teens offers one-to-one coaching and a group coaching program in the fall called, The High School Success Formula.