When I first met Kai. She was a quiet and shy 15-year-old. She was so nervous that she would barely make eye contact with me.
When she graduated from high school three years later, she was a confident young woman. She walked with her head held high, spoke her mind freely, and secured a scholarship to attend a selective university in Virginia.
Kai’s growth demonstrates the importance of mentorship and the profound impact it can have on teens.
If you are considering finding a mentor for your teen, you are in the right place. This article defines mentorship, outlines the various benefits for teenagers, and identifies where you can find a mentor to help your teen reach their academic potential.
What is the Role of a Mentor?
Mentorship is a professional relationship between a more experienced individual (the mentor) who helps a less experienced person (the mentee) to learn academic fundamentals, develop social-emotional skills, and improve self-confidence.
Influential mentors can accomplish this while maintaining an inviting and supportive relationship. Mentors have the best interest of their mentees in mind and craft their meetings and interactions based on the mentee’s needs.
In the case of teenagers, a mentor is an adult who provides one-on-one support to empower the teen and help them find their footing as the teen approaches adulthood.
The Importance of Mentorship: Eight Benefits
Studies have shown the importance of mentorship for teenagers. It improves academic performance, decreases drug and alcohol use, and helps teens develop social-emotional skills. I’ve highlighted some of the essential benefits of mentorship below.
1. Mentorship Provides a Connection Outside of Parents or School With a Trusted Adult
Teenagers are at a stage developmentally where they are thirsting for independence. Unfortunately, they often lack the experience needed to make the best decisions. The desire for independence but the lack of knowledge can be a complex combination to navigate for parents.
Teenagers often begin to rebel against authority figures because they desire to make their own decisions. A mentor provides teenagers with a supportive adult relationship distinct from their relationships with their parents and teachers.
A teenager can build a relationship with a mentor that allows the teenager to feel a sense of independence but still have a source of advice, support, and encouragement. That is not to say that a mentor replaces parents or teachers. Rather, a mentor provides guidance that parents and teachers cannot give and supports the holistic education of a teenager.
2. A Teen Can Learn the Importance of Social-emotional Skills, Self-esteem, and Self-confidence From Mentorship
Mentorship can help improve a teenager’s self-confidence and social-emotional skills. Regular interactions with a mentor teach teenagers how to communicate effectively, set boundaries, and manage emotions.
Teenagers may feel uncomfortable discussing these topics with other adults because of their desire to be independent and the potential negative consequences they might face socially.
Since a mentor’s primary objective is to support the mentee, a mentor can act as a mentee’s cheerleader, boosting the mentee’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Growth in these three areas is essential for success in the short and long run and can help a teen reach their academic potential and help the mentee succeed socially and in life.
3. Mentorship Provides Feedback in a Supportive Environment
One of the most significant benefits that a mentor can provide is feedback in a positive environment. Unfortunately, society tends to focus on the negatives rather than the positives. This focus can be debilitating for many young people.
The constant negative feedback can make growth and improvement feel pointless. A mentor can help balance out society’s focus on the negative.
A mentor is invested in the mentee’s success and can provide feedback that focuses on their strengths and areas of growth. This more balanced approach can help teenagers identify their strengths and weaknesses.
A mentor gives feedback in a supportive environment, which helps teenagers feel motivated to improve rather than discouraged. Over time, this can greatly impact a teenager’s academic and professional success.
4. Teens Can Learn the Importance of Different Perspectives
Since mentors lack a connection to a mentee’s home, school, or social life, they can offer a different perspective and new information. A mentor can help teenagers see the world in different ways and provide guidance on how to navigate difficult situations.
A new perspective can be constructive for teenagers struggling with personal or academic problems. Teenagers may feel trapped in a loop because they hear the same advice and are surrounded by the same people. The lack of new information can make it hard to escape their current patterns of behavior.
A mentor can provide an outside perspective and a new way of looking at a challenge. This can be the difference between staying stuck in a cycle and breaking free.
5. Mentorship Can Help Your Teen Set and Attain Goals
Setting goals is one of the most critical steps in growing as a student and person. Despite its importance, many teens do not receive direct instruction on how to set and achieve goals successfully.
A teenager may feel uncomfortable conversing with peers, parents, and teachers because it requires vulnerability and openness. Many teens struggle to exhibit these traits within their inner circle because they desire independence.
Mentors can help teenagers set and achieve goals and provide advice on overcoming obstacles and creating a plan for success. The unique relationship between a mentor and a mentee makes conversations about goal setting non-threatening.
6. Mentorship Provides Accountability
One of the biggest challenges that teenagers face is accountability. Due to their desire for independence, accountability that comes from parents or teachers can often result in conflict and arguments.
Conflict is not an appealing outcome, but a complete lack of accountability is not ideal either. Despite their desire for independence, teens often need someone to help them stay on track. A mentor can provide this accountability by meeting regularly with the teen and checking in on their progress.
A mentor can avoid the conflicts commonly associated with providing accountability because of the trust a teenager has built with their mentor and the mentor’s position outside of a teen’s social circle.
A mentor’s accountability can be crucial in helping teenagers succeed in school, work, and life.
7. Mentors Give Encouragement
Everyone needs encouragement, and this is particularly true for teenagers and young adults. They face a tremendous amount of pressure because everywhere they look, things look perfect.
Instagram and social media are filled with photoshopped and edited pictures and videos. Plus, the adults in their life are polished products with years of experience. The pressure from the effortless perfection around them can be debilitating.
A mentor can provide a sympathetic perspective for a teenager and offer encouragement to persevere while facing these challenges. This encouragement can be the difference between giving up and striving.
8. A Mentor Can Help Your Teen Develop a Better Attitude About School
Many teenagers have a bad attitude about school and don’t see the point in traditional education. Furthermore, few are excited to meet the expectation that they do their homework.
A mentor can empathize with a mentee’s perspective and help them find what they enjoy about school. Finding something to enjoy at school is essential for academic success, yet many teens are expected to do well in school without any personal connection.
Mentors can help teenagers see the value of education and how it can benefit their future. This positive attitude can lead to improved grades and overall success in school.
Now that You know the importance of Mentorship, How Do You Find a Mentor?
There are several ways you can find a mentor for your teen. You can start by asking family and friends if they know anyone interested in mentoring your teen.
Many volunteer organizations provide mentorship for teens. I highly recommend Minds Matter. I met Kai through this volunteer organization.
If you want something more serious and curated to the specific needs of your teenager, I recommend reaching out to an educational or academic coach. An academic coach has the professional background and experience to meet your teen’s individual needs and help them maximize their talents and reach their academic potential.
If you believe in the importance of mentorship and want your teen to reap the benefits, let’s talk. I have worked with hundreds of students to reach their academic potential, and your teenager could be next.
As you can see, the importance of mentorship in a teenager’s development cannot be understated. A mentor can provide a teenager’s support, encouragement, and accountability to succeed. If you are interested in finding a mentor for your teen, many resources are available to help you.
I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions or want to learn more about how an academic coach can mentor your child, schedule a free consultation.
About the Author: John Hyde
I am an educational coach specializing in teaching students academic fundamentals and a growth mindset.
After graduating from Duke University in 2015, I taught at a public middle school from 2016 to 2019. Although I loved working with students in the classroom, the public education system was not teaching students the skills essential to academic success.
I left the classroom in 2019 to start Academic Empowerment Academy. Since then, my coaching program has helped hundreds of students realize their academic potential by assisting them in building confidence and empowering them with the skills and mindset to meet their goals in school and life.
If you’d like to discuss how I can help your teen be more motivated, foster good habits, and improve academic organization/performance, Book a Complimentary Discovery Call Here.
Hi, I’m John, the author of this blog, academic coach, and founder of AE Academy.
I help teens reach their academic potential by empowering them with academic fundamentals, a growth mindset, and critical thinking.
If your teen is struggling to reach their academic potential or isn’t learning the skills they need to succeed in school, we should connect.
It’s on me – Book Your Free Call Here