How do you think Artificial Intelligence will impact your life? How do you think Artificial Intelligence will impact your relationships?
These are interesting questions to discuss with an adolescent mentee, especially at a time when we are continually being told that the digital age will see many current jobs becoming obsolete during the next few years.
A significant contribution a volunteer adult mentor can make to the life of an adolescent mentee is to build a web of protective factors or characteristics around the young person that will reduce the negative impact of stressful situations and problems, thus fostering resiliency.Some ways a mentor can do this would include the following six strategies which, when combined, are likely to see the development of positive self-concepts, connection to school, improved academic results, respect for authority and a more resilient young person. I can vouch for this from my mentoring, teaching and coaching experiences.
- Provide unconditional caring, support and encouragement. Let mentees hear the message “You matter!” Catch them being good and acknowledge their efforts.
- Increase bonding. Strengthen the connections between mentees and positive adults and peers; and between mentees and any positive social activity (eg, sports, art, music, writing, dance, community service, reading or learning). Mentees with strong, positive bonds are less likely to be involved in high risk behaviours than those without such bonds.
- Set clear, consistent boundaries. Mentees need clear and consistent rules or boundaries (eg, family rules and norms, school policies and procedures, community laws and norms) within which they are encouraged to become the best they can be. These must be clearly spelt out and consistently enforced. Negotiate with your mentees over the boundaries and enforcement procedures (and consequences) with a caring attitude, so they gain a sense of ownership and receive the authentic message that they are a valued community resource.
- Teach life skills. Some key life skills are cooperative skills, healthy conflict resolution skills, resistance and assertiveness skills, communication skills, problem-solving and decision-making skills, and healthy stress management so our mentees can cope with all the challenges they will face during their life journey.
- Set and communicate high expectations. Expectations that are high and realistic are effective motivators: I believe in you. I know you can do it!
- Provide opportunities for meaningful participation. Give mentees responsibility by giving them opportunities to solve problems, make decisions, plan, set goals and help others. Allow them to share power with adults in real ways. See them as resources rather than as passive objects or problems. Encourage mentees to join school and youth committees, peer programs and so on.
Source: These six strategies are adapted from Nan Henderson and Mike Milstein, “The Resiliency Cycle”, in Resiliency in Schools
Resilient young people will be well prepared to cope with the challenges of a changing world.
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in Australia and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Twitter @million2016coxy or on Facebook (where you are able to join a closed mentoring group) or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website