What is a ‘teenage mentor’ and why would my teenager need one?

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    A teenage mentor is someone a teen can turn to when they need to get something off their chest, when they need advice on how to deal with a problem. Some (not all) teens find it very hard to open up to family, this has nothing to do with family and all to do with the changes they are going through physically, mentally and hormonally at this stage of growth.

    They do not have the emotional attachment with a mentor. They know they have their support and their trust but they also know that they are not letting them down, not embarrassing them, failing to live up to expectations.

    Below are some of the many issues facing teens on a daily basis;

    Peer pressure – exam pressure – lack of enthusiasm – the need to get something off their chest – lack of motivation – loneliness – friendship issues – boyfriend issues – social media issues – body image issues.

     

    Very often a teen may have a good relationship at home but just needs to hear another perspective. Mental health issues are a growing problem in Ireland and mentoring can play a big part in cutting these numbers down. Generally they need an ear, an unemotional response and advice.   If they have a problem and come to me at the very beginning, we can usually come up with a plan to sort it. Little problems become big problems if they are not named and dealt with as soon as possible.

    Coping skills is an area many teens need help with. Understanding their emotions, understanding their body changes, understanding their hormonal changes, can really help.     Understanding that is ok to make mistakes, we always learn from our mistakes. Understanding that it is ok to fail at something, that does not mean we are a failure. It is ok to be different. It is ok not to enjoy sports. It is ok not to want to go to discos. It is ok not to want to drink. It is perfectly ok to be themselves – whoever that may be.

     

    Parents find it very hard at times to get their teenager to open up. They may notice a change in their behavior, a change in their social outings, a change in their sleep pattern. Parents know their own child better than anyone – if you notice your teen not acting themselves and you cannot get them to open up, I would suggest a mentoring session.

     

    Very often mentoring may only take place a couple of times a year but the teen knows they have someone to turn to if they need to. Someone outside of the immediate family, someone not personally attached to them. They find it much easier to open up to someone anonymous.

     

    “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” – Steven Spielberg

     

    “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” – John C. Crosby

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