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How to Mentor a Teenager

Mentoring a teenager can be an exciting journey filled with opportunities to make a positive impact.

How to Mentor a Teenager

The teenage years are full of changes and challenges, and being a mentor means being there to offer support, guidance, and encouragement. In this guide, we'll explore some simple yet effective ways to be a great mentor to a teenager."

Method 1. Building the Relationship

  1. Get to know your mentee through fun activities. You can eat out, play basketball, or hang out at a park together. Remember, it's all about having fun, so choose something you both enjoy.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  2. Build trust with your mentee by keeping your word. Make sure to be on time for your appointments, keep your planned activities, and reply quickly to messages from your mentee. If you're ever running late or need to cancel, let them know as soon as you can. Make sure your mentee understands that you're committed for the long term. If they think you might leave soon, they might not trust you as much.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  3. Stick to a consistent schedule. Try to spend time with your mentee regularly so you can talk and check in with them. Meeting up once a week is best, but you can adjust the schedule to suit both of you. Consider setting a specific day to spend time with them, making it easier to remember. For example, you could plan to meet every Thursday after school to hang out.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  4. Let the teenager have a choice in your activities. Ask your mentee what they like to do so you can choose activities they'll enjoy. As you learn more about them, you can suggest things they might like to try. If they're passionate about sports, explore local teams in the area. If they enjoy ice cream, treat them to the new ice cream shop nearby.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  5. Don't push your mentee into opening up. If your mentee isn't ready to talk to you yet, that's alright. Allow your relationship to grow naturally instead of pushing for conversation, which could make things uncomfortable. It might take your mentee a month or more to start trusting you, and that's perfectly fine. Allow them to take their time and go at their own pace.

Method 2. Communicating

  1. Keep in regular contact with your mentee. You're responsible for maintaining the relationship, not the teenager. Make sure you have their phone number and another way to contact them if necessary. If your mentee lives with a parent or guardian, make sure to also get their phone number.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  2. Be their friend, not their parent. You don't have to be an authority figure in your mentee's life. Instead, aim to be someone they feel comfortable coming to with their problems, like a friend. Avoid scolding or talking down to them; instead, offer caring advice. Teenagers already have many authority figures in their lives. If you try to be another one, they might not trust you as much.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  3. Listen attentively to everything your mentee has to say. You can show you're listening by keeping eye contact and asking follow-up questions. Even if your mentee is just talking about their day at school, it's important to stay engaged and attentive. For example, if they're sharing about a strict teacher, you might ask, "Do you think she's strict to help you all work harder?" Or, if they're telling you about a fight they had with their mom, you could ask, "Why do you think that made her so angry?"
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  4. Validate their thoughts and feelings. Teenagers experience a lot, and your mentee might want to talk to you about school, work, or relationships. Let them know that what they're feeling is normal, and give advice if they want it. For example, if your mentee is worried about an upcoming test, you could reassure them by saying, "Feeling nervous about a test is completely normal. Just remember, you've put in your best effort studying for it." Or, if they're having trouble with a friend at school, you could offer support by saying, "Friendships can have their ups and downs. It's tough when you're in a fight with a friend."

Method 3. Meeting Goals

  1. Set realistic goals and expectations. Take a seat and have a chat with your mentee about what they want to achieve with your support. They might aim to improve grades, apply to colleges, or find a part-time job. Assure them that you're committed to assisting them in reaching their goals, regardless of how big or small they may seem. Make sure the goals are achievable. If your mentee sets very high expectations, gently guide them toward more realistic ones.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  2. Check in periodically to see the progress they've made. Once you and your mentee have set their goals, schedule check-ins after 2 to 3 months and again after 5 to 6 months. Inquire about their progress and future plans during these discussions. For example, if your mentee aims to improve grades, inquire about their recent report card and their current performance in all subjects. Or, if their goal was to attend college, ask about the progress of their applications and which colleges they've applied to thus far.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  3. Maintain a positive attitude. Even if your mentee falls behind or loses focus, it's crucial to find the positive side. Getting discouraged or upset will only add to your mentee's feelings of distress. Remember that your mentee might be facing challenges beyond their control, such as disruptions at home or strained family relationships.
    How to Mentor a Teenager
  4. Celebrate your mentee's achievements. Make celebrating your mentee's achievements a significant event. Consider taking them out for a meal, organizing a small party, or buying them a gift to recognize their hard work. Some youth organizations host special ceremonies to spotlight their mentees' accomplishments as well.


Mentoring a teenager is about being supportive, patient, and understanding. By listening, guiding, and offering encouragement, we can help teenagers grow and succeed. Let's continue to be there for them, providing advice and being positive role models. Together, we can help teenagers navigate through life's challenges and reach their full potential.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1. Why do teens need mentors?

Answer: Mentorship can be valuable for anyone with goals, but it's unique for each individual. Overall, a mentor's role is to provide support and foster growth. Hence, teenagers can definitely gain from having a mentor.

Question 2. What should I do as a mentor?

Answer: It varies based on the other person's career or life stage. Typically, a mentor assists someone in recognizing their weaknesses and areas needing improvement.

Question 3. What's the point of getting a mentor? How do I know if I need one?

Answer: The purpose of having a mentor is to gain an external viewpoint. It can be challenging to identify areas for personal improvement on your own, so having someone else's perspective can be beneficial. If you feel like you could achieve more but are unsure how to progress, seeking out a mentor could be a wise decision.

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