Having a good role model is an important part of growing up into a healthy young adult. Since some teens don’t have quality role models in their lives, they may need a mentor or a guide as they navigate the early stages of adulthood. If you feel the calling to Mentor a Teenager in your community, you can use a positive attitude and a strong moral foundation to lead them in the right direction in life.
Building the Relationship
Get to know your mentee through fun activities. You can go out to eat, play some basketball, or hang out at a park. This is supposed to be a fun time for both of you, so pick an activity that you’ll both enjoy.
- You could go see a movie, head to the mall, visit an arcade, or ride bikes around the city.
Build trust with your mentee by keeping your word. Make sure you show up to appointments on time, keep your scheduled activities, and reply to their messages as fast as possible. If you’re ever running late or you have to cancel, communicate with your mentee as soon as possible.
- You should also make sure your mentee knows that you’re in this for the long-haul. If the teenager thinks you’re going to up and leave soon, they probably won’t trust you very much.
Stick to a consistent schedule. Try to hang out with your mentee on a regular basis so you can chat with them and see how they’re doing. Once a week is preferable, but you can switch it around to fit both of your needs.
- Try hanging out with them on a specific day so it’s easy to remember. For example, you could pick them up every Thursday after school to go hang out.
Let the teenager have a choice in your activities. Ask your mentee what they enjoy doing so you can pick an activity that they’ll look forward to. As you get to know them more, you can start suggesting activities that they’ll like.
- If they’re really into sports, check out your local teams in the area. If they love ice cream, take them to the new ice cream shop down the road.
Don’t push your mentee into opening up. If your mentee doesn’t want to talk to you just yet, that’s okay. Try to let your relationship develop naturally instead of forcing something that could become strained.
- It may take a month (or even longer) for your mentee to start trusting you, and that’s okay. Let them go at their own pace.
Method 2 to Mentor a Teenager
Keep in regular contact with your mentee. It’s up to you to keep your relationship going, not the teenager. Make sure you have their phone number and an alternate way to get ahold of them if you need to.
- If they live with a parent or guardian, get their phone number too.
Be their friend, not their parent. You shouldn’t necessarily be an authority figure in this person’s life. Instead, you should be someone they can come to with their problems like they would with a friend. Try not to scold them or talk down to them; instead, offer caring advice.
- Teenagers have a lot of authority figures in their lives already. If you try to be another one, they probably won’t trust you as much.
Listen attentively to everything your mentee has to say. You can listen attentively by maintaining eye contact and asking follow-up questions. Even if your mentee is just telling you about how school went, you should always be engaged and listening.
- For example, if they’re telling you about a strict teacher, you could say, “Do you think she’s being strict so you guys work harder?”
- Or, if they’re telling you about a fight they had with their mom, you could say, “Why do you think that made her so angry?”
Validate their thoughts and feelings. Teenagers go through a lot, and your mentee may want to vent to you about school, work, or relationships. Try to tell them that what they’re going through is normal, and offer advice if they ask for it.
- For example, if your mentee is worried about an upcoming test, you could say, “It’s normal to be nervous about a test. Try to remember that you studied as hard as you could for it.”
- Or, if they’re having trouble with a friend at school, you could say, “Friendships go through a lot of ups and downs. It’s never fun to be in a fight with a friend, though.” This is Really helpful to Mentor a Teenager.