Have you ever feared the unknown future? Have you ever been through a really tough and challenging situation? A relationship breakdown? Failed an important test or exam? A family crisis? A time you felt you were being unfairly treated? A financial loss? Just missing out on a dream goal? The recipient of an unfair decision? Bullying of any sort?
It seems as though these are some of the issues that many of today’s young people are grappling with. They are seeking meaning and purpose for their lives, want to feel cared for and valued and are struggling with other questions like: What jobs will still be around when I finish school? What jobs will there be available to me when I graduate from University or Tertiary Study? How will robotics and Artificial Intelligence impact my career prospects?
These are all legitimate questions and our young people need to be encouraged and supported as they journey through adolescence to fulfil their potential, so let’s consider 12 qualities you can nurture to develop resilient teenagers. Lou Thompson, who has worked extensively in New Zealand and Australia in the areas of education psychology, behavior management and Special Needs, has written books on developing self-esteem in young people, as well as mentoring youth.
12 qualities to nurture resilient teenagers
The following 12 points include some of the ideas Lou has shared over the years to help anyone working with young people develop their resiliency and a healthy self-esteem and which I have taken the liberty to expand upon in places. On further reflection, most of these points could be adapted and applied to anyone mentoring another person of any age!
- React calmly and constructively to mistakes, errors and disappointments;
- Overcome setbacks and adversities – be solutions focused;
- Display confidence in your interpersonal relationships – your ability to make friends and maintain friendships;
- Have a greater belief in your ability to achieve your goals;
- Set yourself realistic and achievable goals;
- Persevere at striving for your goals in both the good and the bad times and celebrate the small victories;
- Be prepared to take ‘acceptable risks’ ie, engage in tasks you haven’t attempted before; tackle old tasks in novel ways; engage in tasks that there is a good chance you might fail at – a comfort zone is a zero progress, zero growth zone;
- You more likely to actualize or use the top 10% of your performance potential so keep on keeping on;
- You are less likely to be inhibited in your performance by an underlying fear of failure, as you learn that failure is part of the self-empowering, self-discovery and self-learning journey;
- Respect your health and have a healthy body image and lifestyle;
- Be able to resolve conflicts positively because you understand that conflict has a positive value and, when handled constructively, it helps you to learn new and better ways to respond to problems and challenges, build more meaningful relationships and learn more about yourself and others;
- Be able to communicate your ‘real self’ to others assertively, knowing when and how to be vulnerable.
Further tips for the mentoring journey
This is a helpful checklist for mentors, as it will ensure that a young person experiences a holistic mentoring journey as he or she seeks answers to the many questions young people are asking as they journey through adolescence and as their brains are developing.
Remember to comment on the young person’s EFFORTS and refrain from making judgmental comments aimed at the character of the mentee and you will build strong trust.
Turn every mentoring experience into a learning opportunity.
Work with your mentee to find creative solutions to the challenges they face, name and identify their strengths and you will be teaching resourcefulness, developing a resilient approach to life, as well as preparing them for their career pathways beyond school.
Guide your mentee towards self-trust – belief and confidence in his or her ability to face and master difficulties and challenges and to bounce back with a positive, resilient attitude and mindset.
Always carry the flame of the mentor’s spirit: an unseen, affirming influence, combined with positive energy. and you will be transforming the lives of young people.
Instead of feeling fear, these young people will be able to step out confidently into the unknown future equipped with the skills to deal with any challenges they might face.
This is the power of mentoring. Young people feel self-empowered and will also have developed some key self-learning skills.
Many more tips – no charge!
And, if you want some quick daily tips to help you better understand teenagers, take a listen to the 260×2 – 4 minute Mentoring Minutes podcasts (NO CHARGE! – one a day) which cover most things you need to know about teenagers 🙂 You might also want a free ebook with more mentoring tips which you can collect from Robin’s Facebook Mentoring Matters page.
Have you any other tips for the resilient journey?
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 New Zealand 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 Facebook or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website About 45 blogs have been converted to short video clips, all of which are linked to encouraging youth to reach their potential. These are available on YouTube https://www.youtube.