Part of growing up often includes the transition from being a mentored child to an adolescent, who is able to mentor others. While it is not always an easy transition, turning an adolescent into a mentor can prove beneficial for everyone.
“Mentors can, among other things, provide exceptional learning experiences for their mentees and, in doing so, expand their mentees’ awareness, insight and perspective.”
What is a mentor?
Dictionary.com suggests that a mentor is a “wise and trusted counselor or teacher” or an “an influential senior sponsor or supporter.”
What are some other benefits of turning an adolescent into a mentor?
At times, adolescents have relationship problems, are troubled, or are in trouble with the law, etc. Learning to be mentors can help them change their lives and in turn, prevent others from making some of the same mistakes they have made previously.
Mentors often fill the need for big brothers or sisters. While most people may not regard adolescents as mentors because of their age, many of them are able to take on specific mentoring tasks and handle them very well. For example, picture an adolescent in your own home or school setting, with younger children surrounding him or her, as he or she engages in leading and guiding them through the various steps of a Lego building project. .
Adolescent mentors often work well with children on a one-to-one basis, as well. For example, picture a school setting where a child sits on the floor in front of an adolescent who is giving him or her instructions about how to work with pastel crayons.
Mentors, working with mentees, can free up valuable time for parents and teachers alike. Those who take the time to train adolescents how to mentor children, find that delegating tasks to them often works in their favor. It allows time for them to work on other things. For many parents, the tasks of daily living are time consuming and can be done while an adolescent mentor mentors their children. For many teachers, an extra pair of hands is welcome, particularly when there is a child who needs help on a one-to-one basis.
Parents and teachers with adolescent mentors soon learn the unique capabilities of their mentors. In other words, they can see what the adolescent’s skill sets are and how well they follow directives and work with mentees. After a while, there is no longer any supervision needed, as the adolescent mentors prove to be reliable and responsible with children.
Children generally respond well to adolescent mentors and are often happier and more content than when they are under the constant supervision of parents and teachers. They tend to relax and be themselves, as many adolescent mentors enjoy children, relate to them well because they like them and know what makes them happy. Children often develop growing respect and love for their mentors.
Many adolescents have developing or even advanced mentoring skills and serving as mentors for children allows them the opportunity to explore and develop these skills further. For example, an adolescent can work with a child who is learning how to use a computer. Parents and teachers do not always have the time or energy to explore these areas of discovery and are overjoyed to see how horizons expand, when adolescents begin to mentor children.
In many home and school settings, there are large numbers of children of all ages. Having adolescents who are willing and able to assume some of the responsibility through mentoring can be a good learning-teaching experience for the adolescents and children, as well as a blessing for parents and teachers.
Mentoring is good preparation for training as a teacher, for any adolescent who is interested in pursuing a mentoring opportunity. Some adolescents seem to be natural born mentors and continually thrive in that kind of an environment, while others benefit from training to be mentors initially and later become professional teachers.