If there is anything our younger generation needs right now, it’s adults who are willing to step up and be a good teen mentor. As time continues pressing forward, you don’t have to look far to see the darkness of this world that plagues teens today. More than ever, teenagers need to be shown the love of Christ in a way that will help them navigate the traps set by the enemy for their souls.
What if I don’t feel qualified to be a good teen mentor?
It’s quite common to feel this way, but please let us give you some wisdom around this question. As the saying goes, “God doesn’t call the equipped – He equips the called.” Truth be told, this type of question stems from seeing yourself more than what God can do through you. Questioning whether you are qualified or not only hinders God’s ability to touch the lives you are meant to touch.
Instead of questioning qualifications, trust and believe that if you feel led to work with teens, then it’s not a matter of how but a matter of who. In most cases, you can probably look back over your life and think of many things you’ve gone through and have come out victoriously on the other side.
You may just be surprised by what God will do when you simply say yes. If working with teens is something you’ve always wanted to do, the time is now. Keep reading and check out ways you can be a good mentor to teens today.
5 Ways to Be a Good Teen Mentor
Listening and Not Judging
Being a good teen mentor involves being able to listen without judgment. During these sensitive years, teenagers are already feeling judged for everything they say and do. This primarily comes from the natural and continual growth of the brain partnered with more life experiences. Most adults look at teenagers and think in terms of phases, but in reality, while teens are trying to “find themselves,” this is when they need a listening ear the most.
Not to mention, this could also (possibly) prevent a lot of what teens encounter and experience – especially negatively. Knowing they have a trusted mentor can make all the difference in their choices.
Helping Them Set Realistic Expectations
Most adults will agree that the thought of setting any kind of expectations was not a concept naturally taught in the teen years. Instead, many of us were given the normal steps usually taken which would include finishing high school, going to college, getting a job in the field, etc.
The truth of the matter is, there are lots of important concepts left out that could be taught during the teen years, including learning how to set realistic expectations and goals. A good mentor will help a teen map out their life according to their God-given talents and abilities all while seeing the future from a realistic and doable perspective.
Loving Them Where They’re At
No matter what a teen may presently be involved in, nothing speaks more volumes than loving them where they are at. And although what they may be experiencing or choosing to do is just a phase, it’s important to see beyond it.
Try to identify what is persuading a specific kind of behavior or pattern of choices. In most cases, this will help you identify ways to genuinely help them without force or manipulation. As adults, we have a way of seeing things primarily because we’ve “been there and done that.” But for a teen, it’s where they are now, and most do not have the maturity to see beyond it yet.
Challenging Them to Grow
Instead of force and manipulation, a good teen mentor will use the challenge method to help teens grow. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous suggestions and takes a great deal of wisdom to put together. Instead of placing your expectations on the teen, make it about them and what they expect in and out of life.
The answers can then be used to form small challenges that will have the overall goal of meaningful growth that will truly make a lasting difference.
Make Them Feel Seen and Heard
In the same course of listening and not judging, teens simply want to feel seen and heard. In fact, it’s much of why they seem to “act out.” It’s an ebb and flow of wanting and/or needing a certain kind of attention and being willing to do whatever to get it. When left unchecked or out of control, the behaviors usually escalate.
Using words of affirmation is one of the best ways to help teens feel seen and heard, and a good teen mentor knows this. Compliments can go a long way and it helps build their self-esteem, which is critical during these years.
There are many ways to be a good teen mentor, and we’ve only scratched the surface. Overall, a good mentor uses wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and guidance from the Holy Spirit to make a positive impact in someone’s life. When it comes to the teen years, things are a bit more delicate as you are able to help them make pivotal changes that will impact them long into adulthood.