23 proven goal setting tips for your mentoring journey with teenagers

23 proven goal setting tips for your mentoring journey with teenagers

Did you set goals when you were a teenager? Did you ever have someone who helped you with goal setting? If you did set goals, how effective was the process you followed? Did you achieve your goals or did you quit? Did you always feel you were reaching your potential? I have been a goal setter for most of my life. My goals motivated and inspired me to stay focused and to stand up to negative peer pressure on occasions. While I might not have achieved all my goals, I learnt much about myself through the process – and continue to do so – and enjoyed that amazing feeling when I did manage to achieve a specific goal, be it academic, sport, relational or pursuing a hobby or some other activity. What did I learn from the experience? Well, the truth is that I am still learning! Although now retired, I still set annual goals and break these down into monthly goals, because I want to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle and enjoy a fulfilling life. The work I have done over the years as a teacher, sport coach and mentor of teenagers ALWAYS involves goal setting, as I have learnt that, when a young person starts achieving their personal goals, they begin to find meaning and purpose in their lives, they are more motivated and happier. 15 proven goal setting tips for the mentoring journey These tips can be adapted by Mentors to the particular community in which they are working. Remember, goal setting comes, for the most part, after you have established a connection with your...
When you understand a teenager’s brain, you become a miracle-maker!

When you understand a teenager’s brain, you become a miracle-maker!

Do you sometimes struggle to understand what is going on in the world of teenagers? Do you see a beautiful young person one day and then a monster the next? Do you tear your hair out at seemingly inexplicable mood swings? Do you throw up your hands in despair? Do you feel you are losing your relationship with a teenager? Welcome to the normal world of the teenager!  While I was researching adolescent behaviour and the latest adolescent brain research, I jotted down some key aspects of adolescent brain development. This knowledge significantly impacted HOW, when and why I communicated with teenagers from all walks of life as a parent, teacher, coach and mentor. We do well to pause from time to time and remember our own teenage experiences, how we felt at certain times, how we responded to situations, different people and so on as we journeyed through confusing times in search of meaning and purpose in our lives. A basic understanding of the teenage brain Due to the plasticity of the brain, it can be changed by experiences, a point that should always give HOPE to anyone working with young people. The frontal lobes make up 40% of the brain’s total volume. They are the seat of our ability to generate insight, judgment, abstraction, impulse control and planning. They are the source of self-awareness and our ability to assess dangers and risks, so we use this area of the brain to choose a course of action wisely. The frontal lobes are said to house the ‘Executive’ function of the human brain which only ceases developing in the...
3 meaningful ways you can help to calm the developing teenage brain

3 meaningful ways you can help to calm the developing teenage brain

How do you respond to a teenager on an emotional rollercoaster ride? How do you react to a teenager who feels totally lost? How do you encourage a teenager who ‘appears’ not to want encouragement? Can you remember how you were as a teenager with all your emotions flying all over the place? How did you deal with those times? These are interesting questions, though, to put us at ease, the teenage emotional rollercoaster ride is normal while the brain is still developing. Within the limbic system of an adolescent, the Amygdala, which prioritizes and learns our human survival and emotional messages (Desautels, 2016) is in full flow while the brain is developing. This area, which is involved in instinctive, impulsive, emotional and aggressive reactions (Karen Young) needs to be quieted, so that the developing Prefrontal Cortex, the area above our eyes and behind the forehead, which plays a key role in impulse control, decision-making and future planning, can come more and more into play and help us make good decisions while it is being structured and wired up as a result of our learning and experiences.  The Prefrontal Cortex will only be fully developed when we are in our mid-20s. It is interesting reading the stories of ‘successful’ teenagers or those who have scaled dizzy heights with some incredible talents. Most have worked hard or trained hard to achieve their success, yet many have no idea how to deal with their fame, partly because their brains are still developing and they probably do not receive the best mentoring to keep their feet well grounded. One point is abundantly...
How you can nurture and encourage teenagers to become mentally strong

How you can nurture and encourage teenagers to become mentally strong

How much support did you have around you when you were a teenager? What did that scaffolding look like, feel like and sound like? Who were the people who provided that scaffolding? What qualities or characteristics did they display in their relationship with you? Perhaps you need some positive signs to look out for? While working in my home office a while ago, I looked out to see a painter – probably in his 30s – sitting on the scaffolding opposite our apartment taking a selfie! A quick adjustment of the T-shirt, fingers repositioning the hair, seated upright – mobile phone at the ready, a smile and click! Great selfie which was quickly sent to a friend, a loved one? Four storeys up. Beautiful sea view with that perfect autumn day framed by a cloudless, brilliant blue sky. The scaffolding was secure, strong, supportive, enabling this special moment in a painter’s day to occur. He felt safe. That got me thinking about the signs of a mentally strong teenager and the scaffolding that supports him/her so that he/she would always feel safe and secure. I have spent many months collating years and years of adolescent research and, more recently, linking this research to the latest adolescent neuroscience research. This research has reiterated how important it is for youth to have significant adults as their non-judgmental Cheerleaders to walk alongside them during a critically important season of their lives while their brains are developing. 15 signs of mentally strong teenagers As these meaningful relationships are developed and the significant adult takes on an encouraging and nurturing role, here are 15...
Do you have a proven idea to motivate all teenagers to share with the world?

Do you have a proven idea to motivate all teenagers to share with the world?

Do you have a proven idea to inspire and motivate teenagers to share with the world? Better still, do you think your idea will make a positive difference in your global community? Do you have any idea how to share your idea with the global community? I have a good idea – which has taken me over 40 years of life experiences to develop – to share with the world’s teenagers which I know will transform their lives and give them hope and a sense of purpose, encouraging them to use their unique gifts and talents to create a happier, more united global community. Questions, questions and more questions. I find myself asking the questions above on many occasions. I am not a businessman and struggle to market anything, so am absolutely no use at working in these areas. I shared these thoughts a short while ago and decided to revisit them. What I can do is encourage others. I can receive great satisfaction when I choose to reach out to someone in need of encouragement and offer to walk alongside them for a season of their lives. I know that is my gifting and is one of the reasons I chose to become a teacher. Now, as I move into my retirement years, I find myself wondering how I can share all my vast resources of experience, knowledge and ideas with others to encourage the next generation to fulfill their God-given potential. From a young age, I enjoyed being a team player. My satisfaction comes from working within a team – I am comfortable facilitating team discussions –...
10 proven powerful mentoring tips for your journey with Teenagers

10 proven powerful mentoring tips for your journey with Teenagers

When you think about any adult who motivated and inspired you as a teenager, what do you remember about them? Why did they have such a positive impact on your life? Dave was one of my teachers, also my Cricket coach at one point and later my mentor who guided the development of my teaching skills. He was tough, uncompromising at times, set and expected nothing but the best effort, yet behind the tough exterior was a compassionate and caring man, a champion of the underdog. Our friendship lasted for over 40 years, at which point Dave succumbed to Cancer. Research shows that mentoring journeys lasting more than 12 months result in most mentees enjoying improved relationships with parents; better connections with school; less of an inclination to experiment with drugs, alcohol and other antisocial behaviors; enjoying greater levels of self-worth, better social skills and improved academic results. Mentoring involves making an emotional investment in a mentee’s life; building trust and encouraging; making a positive impact on a young life often experiencing confusion and self-doubt. 10 proven mentoring tips I find it difficult to determine what are the most important tips to offer a volunteer adult mentor, as so much will depend on the circumstances confronting both the mentor and the young person he or she is moving alongside. Here are 10 positive, proven and powerful tips to encourage and guide any mentors working with teenagers. When applied you will see the positive impact you are having on a young life. Encourage your mentees to develop a personal photograph of themselves in the future and to hold on to...