The Benefits and Pitfalls of Teen Mentoring

When I think about teen mentoring, I think about the possible benefits it can have and the pitfalls it can have as well. Teenagers are a tricky thing and tend to be more difficult to deal with when you are talking about mentoring and its benefits. Young children are more eager to please and are quicker to bond. They also take instruction much better. Adults or college students tend to realize that a mentor (professionally) is a  wise choice because they can give the mentoree experience or information about their career and could be a potential job reference. Teenagers normally fail to realize any of this.

Starting with the benefits of teen mentoring, you can see why people still attempt to make it successful. A mentor for a teenager can encourage them to stay away from things such as drugs or other illegal activities. They can help teach teenagers to care about school or to become passionate about something positive. They can also simply be a trusted friend which is something every teenager needs and normally never really gets. The problem with these benefits is that for them to be truly beneficial the teenager needs to trust their mentor. Teenagers tend to have various levels of trust issues and have a much harder time letting someone in like that, especially an adult. They also don’t like to feel like a child and sometimes mentoring makes them feel like they are being “talked down to”.  Also, getting trust will take time and the mentoring will be a much longer process leaving room for mistakes that are less likely to happen in other ages of mentoring.

The pitfalls are simply that some teenagers in today’s world are virtually impossible to reach. They are so far into drugs or other illeagal activities or perhaps engaging frequently in sexual activities that they have a blatant disregard for life, any kind of success, etc. They just exist and they are so find with that. It’s hard to force them to see that they could be happier without this lifestyle especially when they know that schoolwork and other things that are time-consuming and/or difficult are part of that happy lifestyle they could have. Teenagers also exist entirely in the “now” frame set of mind. It is difficult to get them to think rationally or logically about their future. 

Regardless of the pitfalls found in teenage mentoring, it is still so important to continue attempting to mentor teens. If the mentoring is successful, its benefits far outweigh the pitfalls. For every teen that isn’t benefitted by the program, others are. It’s important to keep working at perfecting teen mentoring and helping those that can be helped through the program.