How you can help a teenager set personal goals – quick, proven tips

How you can help a teenager set personal goals – quick, proven tips

What would you do if you could leave school today and had all the qualifications you need? You have to pay rent, transport costs, mobile phone costs, clothing, food and daily living expenses and so on. So, you must acquire a job, which includes being self-employed and setting up their own business! That’s the type of conversation I often have when I meet teenagers and have begun to establish a meaningful relationship with them. “I don’t know!” is not an acceptable answer, as I remind them that they have a good brain that needs to be used 🙂 This conversation will inevitably unpack a passion and, once we have identified that, we can start talking about careers in the future, maybe including an entrepreneurial project while the student is still at school. If the latter, we talk about meeting a successful entrepreneur for a further chat. We explore the qualifications needed, skills required, university or some other tertiary institution that will have to be attended. We talk about living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We start identifying strengths and link these to the goal getting journey, as this will build a more resilient teenager. And so, the goal setting process begins. As the student seems to have a meaning and purpose to his or her life, they can see that action will need to be taken to achieve this fulfillment of a passion. In so many young lives, this conversation becomes the game-changer. Suddenly, things begin to clear and they see a pathway into a bright and potentially exciting future. 15 Goal Getting Tips for Effective Mentors You can...
10 positive ways you can connect with a teenage mentee

10 positive ways you can connect with a teenage mentee

Do you feel that you are struggling to connect with a teenager in a mentoring relationship? Can you recall how the mentors in your teenage life connected with you? Think about the adults in your teenage life who might have inspired you – why was this? How important are meaningful relationships in your life? Questions, questions and more questions with no straightforward answers as we each bring our back story into our relationships with others. The adults who impacted my teenage life showed a genuine interest in me, encouraged me, listened to my ramblings, mutterings, emotional outbursts, complaints, spoke to the potential I could not see at the time, taught me how to laugh at myself and to have fun in a positive, responsible way and so much more. They were authentic wise guides on the side to whom I shall always be indebted for their many and varied contributions during my confusing adolescent journey. 10 positive ways to connect with a teenager Perhaps you have joined a mentoring program and are wondering how you are going to develop a meaningful relationship with your mentee after the training is over. Hopefully, you will receive many tips on how to do this. Here are 10 positive ways to connect with your teenage mentee, a collation of the most common tips I have gathered over many years researching youth mentoring and adolescent development. All the tips might not apply to your situation, so simply focus on what might be relevant. 1. Meet on ‘neutral turf’ in public places as often as you can in the early months, for safety and security...
11 ways you can guide a teenager to achieve their goals

11 ways you can guide a teenager to achieve their goals

Who helped you set and achieve your goals as a teenager? How effective was this relationship? Do you still set goals? What would you think are key ways you can help a young person on the goal-getting journey, knowing that goal setting is a positive aspect of a teenager’s brain development? How do you arrange your ducks in a row?! These are some of the questions I was pondering in recent times when when Glen came to see me. He specifically wanted assistance with planning, organization and management of his time, as he is heavily involved in his school community and a fine role model to younger students. Glen is fortunate, as he is highly motivated, works hard in and out of the classroom and has some career goals in place, but he had been feeling stressed and had not been sleeping well. I have learnt over the years that when I encourage a young person to set achievable goals, their lives take on new purpose and their energies are positively channeled in specific directions. 11 ways to assist teenagers set and achieve their goals Indeed, part of the goal-setting process during the mentoring journey is to assist your mentees to make sense of the confusion they may be experiencing (as is normal at this stage of their lives); to encourage them to try different strategies until they find what works for them. Once you have developed a relationship of respect and trust, the opportunity will emerge for a discussion on goal setting. When handled positively and in an encouraging manner, I have found on most occasions that our relationship moves...
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. 23 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...